The Myth of Busy

The idea of being busy is pushed as being good, being productive, being, well, busy.  But, being busy isn’t always being busy doing something.  Sometimes being busy means busy exploring or busy being.

I think it is almost dangerous the way that society romanticizes being (work) busy.  While, granted, there are a few instances of people going back to simpler lives, disappearing into the bush to live off the land and be present, to essentially avoid busy—these instances are still the other side of normal.

When you see someone while down town and they or you ask, “how have things been going?” the answer is almost always “good, busy.” And, while this is (generally) true, it is the concept that being busy is the only way things should be.  That being busy is living.

I have noticed a significant change in the last few months for myself.  The busier I get with work, the more I grant myself time to live outside of work.  When I was working to get a foot in the door I worked relentlessly.  I was “busy” and in that time I needed to be busy; I needed to be working to make that advance and get over a threshold.  That isn’t to say that now I take it less seriously, but I make sure to allow myself grace.  I give myself permission to take the weekend off, or a day off, or an afternoon off when I can.  I acknowledge where I have got to, and I can see the opportunity for advancement, but if I am going to keep giving it my best effort I need to recharge.

I think the idea of being busy being the ideal is misplaced–we do need some “busy” but there needs to be a balance.  This ideology has created an unhealthy mindset.  I see more and more people talking about finding a work/life balance and I think this is becoming more focused on because for so long this idea of being busy being the best has created such an imbalance that we have forgotten how to separate ourselves from our work and we now need to make a conscious effort to find our way back to ourselves.

So, now that it feels like summer is (at last) making a comeback, take the time when you can to get outside and enjoy it.  Maybe it is an hour at lunch to go outside, eat, and soak up some sunshine.  Maybe you work hard in the morning to get things caught up for the day and take the afternoon to walk to the creek, drive to the lake.  Take an hour and take the dogs for a swim.  Don’t neglect your responsibilities, but don’t neglect yourself either.  Be busy, but be busy being, not just working.