We’re all so busy
The day starts at 7:30 with coffee and a quick dog walk. A shower and oatmeal later, and email gets checked. News is read. Social media is managed. Work begins with a start as the phone is stacked on top of the tablet, thrown into a bag, and rushed to the office.
Email is checked again, fires are put out, calls are returned, and work conversations are had. Meetings commence, and set for the next few days, more tweets go out, and more emails are written, as we all hoard tabs in our browsers. The day ends, and we drive home, check email again, eat dinner, play with the kids, Instagram them, check email again, Facebook for a bit, work out, email some more, then go to bed.
This is a relatively standard day for the modern professional. Sound familiar? We sure as hell sound busy, right? It’s true, we are. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It depends.
Being busy is an addiction, plain and simple, and our culture is just looking for the next hit. Be it a time saver or a shiny app, most people brag about how they are just oh so busy. For years, bragging about being busy has been a social commodity, with people getting “oohs” and “aahs” when they proclaim they’re so busy they only get three hours of sleep.
The glorification of being busy is being rejected by the masses, slowly but surely. I’m not convinced that the 4-hour workweek is the answer, nor am I convinced that bragging about working 80 hours a week is anything other than a sign of an inability to prioritize and manage tasks properly, but I am convinced that the glorified addiction to being busy can be broken.
But it’s tough.
I’m one of those people that are busy all the time. If I have an extra 30 seconds in a line at the store, I’ll check my email. When I’m waiting in the doctor’s office and don’t have an internet connection, I’m nose-deep in a book. If I’m waiting for an image to upload on Facebook, I’m diving into my feed reader, and when I’m on hold, I’m most certainly tweeting. I’m guilty of being busy, and I was born that way. I don’t see it as a bragging right, I’m just a toe-tapper and always on the go.
So how does one break free? There are millions of articles on productivity that you can Google or read here, but here’s how I’ve been breaking free from being addicted to being busy:
- Waiting in lines, I chat up people around me instead of hiding behind my phone. Being aware of my surroundings has reminded me that networking happens everywhere, not just online.
- I no longer work without breaks – I walk around, I make a personal call in the afternoon, I go outside and gather my thoughts without distraction. This has boosted my productivity tremendously.
- I shame myself when I tell others that I’m “busy,” rather I now try to say that I’m doing well and am excited about the projects I’m involved in. It leaves a much more positive impression in peoples’ minds than a veiled complaint about my chaotic schedule.
- I say no. We’re all told to never miss an opportunity and to say yes to everything, but last year, I resolved to never knee-jerk agree to anything, rather, I always thank someone for the opportunity and vow to put serious thought into it. And then I do. Most of the time, I end up saying no, because it doesn’t serve anyone for me to be stretched too thin.
What have you done to reject the glorification of being busy and actually work productively and make time for family and friends?