I think we’ve deluded ourselves into the idea that we’re actually busy. Or maybe even take that a step further: maybe we are busy, but maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re busy out of necessity. It’s as though as though we’re looking at ourselves and the world around us and saying, “I need to be productive, so I shall busy myself.” Or, maybe even, “I’ll believe I’m busy, because I’ll feel productive.”
The engine driving such thought, I believe, is this modern construct whereby we use busyness as an excuse or a mask even. I know this, because I myself do it and I see others doing it, also. We’ve all used the excuse that we were “really busy” and that’s why we didn’t return a missed call to that family or friend. Truth is, we just forgot and didn’t follow up. There are 3 types in that game: 1) You truly are that forgetful, 2) You're just an overall crummy family member/friend, or 3) You’re just lazy and deluding yourself that you’re that busy.
At this point, I’m willing to go on record and say I’ve committed all 3. I don’t push back from the table and shake your head at me, you have as well! #hypocrite
But the reality is, I think the modern landscape of our lives is driving this false idea that we need to be busy. And, even when we’re actually not, that we need to convince ourselves that we are. You see? This is madness, but it’s the truth. And what’s worse is that regardless of which camp you are in, we complain about how busy we are. In one case, it’s a self-inflicted wound while in the other case, it’s needless caviling.
For one, I don’t believe that we need to observe some need to by busy by virtue of necessity. It feels like, to me, at least, that we’ve now arrived at this point in history where we’re just adding more and more to our already heaping plates and we’re not taking anything off. And, in some cases, we’re doing it because we need to feel productive. The problem with such a thought is that busyness ≠ productivity. In a lot of cases, it just makes us busy idiots. For some, busyness awards them some measure of success. What that success is or what the metrics being used to measure such success are I have no clue, but it feels like success. And, furthermore, it’s really disingenuous to needlessly overload your schedule… and then complain about how busy you are. That’s on you, and it’s up to you to fix that issue, and then stop complaining about it.
Additionally, what glory is there in convincing ourselves that we’re busy when we’re really not? Or, worse yet, doing it because it somehow masks how unproductive we actually are… that, to me, sounds like lunacy.
Guy 1: Yea, I’ve just been, like, suuuuper busy lately.
Guy 2: Really? Whatcha been up to?
Guy 1: Well, I had this thing I had to go to one day, and then I had work… just busy, man.
Again, at that point you’re delusional. So, there’s that.
I just don’t believe that genuinely being overly busy, making the effort to be busy, or saying we’re busy when we’re really not is a good thing. Primarily because I believe it leads to an unbelievable amount of exhaustion.
Exhaustion from just constantly grinding it out.
Exhaustion from trying to keep up with the modern day Joneses.
People need the time to gear down and relax, and if you don’t do it voluntarily, sooner or later you’ll have to involuntarily. And in the case where you’re actually not busy, but trumpeting the idea that you are, people will call your bluff on it. Then you look like a jerk.
Like I said: We’ve all found ourselves in one of those camps at one point or another.
Let me encourage you to take a good stock of your schedule and start weeding out what is necessary from the unnecessary. Keep the wheat, ditch the chaff. I would hate myself if I ended up at the end of my line and looked back to see a lifetime where I neglected the things that mattered because I was busy. Or I didn’t seize on life because I believed I was busy, when I wasn’t.