No matter what company, job, industry, time of year, state of the economy, one’s age, or position in life – the words are always the same “I’m too busy”. Of course the words themselves vary from person to person, but the meaning is the same: I’m simply too freekin’ swamped and that’s why I can’t do it, or didn’t get to it, or whatever excuse of why I didn’t do something I said I was going to do. Bullshit.
No one is ever too busy. They simply don’t prioritize you or whatever it is your asking high enough. That’s not in and of itself a bad thing. But how about a little honesty? Just simply say something like: “sorry, but I’ve got other things right now that are commanding my attention”. Sometime their priorities are outside work and that’s ok, but I hate it when they fein like work is so demanding and then I see them tweet out that they just finished a 50 mile ride at lunch on a Tuesday.
Second point: never lead someone along, particularly an entrepreneur. Time is your enemy when building anything. You only have so many hours in the day. Those get consumed by market research, customer/client interactions, employee development, communicating with investors, honing a marketing message, etc., it never (ever) ends. Not to mention the importance of spending quality time with your family or significant other. If you race bikes like I do, then you need to figure out how to squeeze in a workout here or there too. The worst thing anyone can do to me is string me along. Punt; and tell me why. I’ll get over it. In fact, I’ll appreciate the honesty.
A word about email. I see and read every one of them and like you, I get a lot of them. I don’t respond to all of them. If I’m cc’d then likely I won’t respond. I also hate bcc’s its transparent in a bad way. If I don’t respond to an email its because I don’t prioritze my interaction on that particular thread very high. Its not personal. Sometimes I don’t know an answer I’m asked and I need more time to formulate a response or the issue being articulated is complicated and requires more thought. In those cases I may take a couple of days to respond – but I do respond.
I hate when people tell me they’re too busy. They’re just simply too busy for me.