Are you busy being busy?
'I'm so busy' is a default response for many of us these days. It's like a reflex to any questions we might receive from others.
"How are you?"
"Oh, I'm so busy these days!"
"Have you got time to meet up?"
"Can't right now, I’m too busy!"
"Could you help me out by doing a small favor?"
"No, sorry, too busy."
Now, admittedly plenty of us are really busy so maybe these responses are totally justified. However, sometimes it is important to take a closer look at what we are busy doing.
Busy being busy seems to be a modern obsession and the norm. No time to rest, little time for friends and family, no time to think and reflect, let's just be busy. Busy doing lots of things of little or no real significance at times.Too harsh? Well, is spending 2 hours a day on your smartphone checking Facebook updates a justifiable reason to be too busy to meet a real life friend in person? Is being busy with an overflowing inbox of emails a better use of your time than just checking emails less often and getting on with more meaningful work instead?
The Busy Boast: Being busy is something that many of us seem to boast about. It's seen as some badge of honor and bizarrely something to strive for. Yet research has shown that being busy is not the default state for really high achievers or the greatest minds of our time. These people work hard don't get me wrong but they often channel their energy into what is important and meaningful to them.
The Implications of Busyness It can lead to:
- More stress
- More anxiety
- Less happiness
- The constant pursuit of the next achievement (never fully enjoying what we have already accomplished)
- Not getting anything really worthwhile done at all
- Feeling like we are chasing our tails
- Confusing the nonsense with the important
- Less time for family and friends
- Less time to spend on our passion projects and hobbies
That's a pretty long list of not very ideal situations and it's only scratching the surface. It doesn't have to be this way. Life is to be lived to to be spent in a constant state of busy.
To combat and defeat busyness we need to change our approach. We need to:
- Get comfortable saying 'no' sometimes
- Recognise our own limits and when we need to push back
- Identify what is really important to us (our goals, people in our lives, who we want to be) and make space for these things
- Recognise the important tasks from the not so important tasks
- Get rid of the noise and stuff that doesn't matter as much as possible
- Realize we can't do it all
- Put down the smartphone occasionally and stop being in a reactive state the whole time
- Make some time to think, to do a self check-in
- Make some time to relax
- Make some time to just be, be present
Being busy is not inherently a bad thing if we're busy with things that we care about and that truly matter to us.But being constantly busy with things that don't support our feelings of well-being, blur our clarity and wear us down must be avoided.
Welcome the right sort of busy into your life - busy with your goals and busy with people you truly care about.