The allure of busyness puts you in the back seat of life.
As I was walking toward a woman yesterday I overheard her say to the person on the other end of the phone, “Listen, I am really busy. Really, really busy. I’m crazy busy. I don’t know if I have time …”
I hear that all the time.
Ask a friend, a colleague, a family member, “How are you?” Often, the answer is “Busy.”
Yes, everyone is “busy.” Super busy. Crazy busy.
“Being busy” is background noise. It serves as a way to protect against emptiness. It assuages anxiety and guilt when one feels they are not working hard enough. It presents to the world an image of being productive and wanted. It’s an excuse when you don’t want to do something. Some even wear it as a badge of honor.
Being busy is a choice.
What’s the alternative? Choosing idle time. Making time for the things that are truly important to your happiness and wellbeing.
Research demonstrates over and over again that downtime improves health, boosts productivity, reduces stress, improves cognitive function, increases a general sense of happiness, helps prioritize what’s important, and may even help solve problems.
Leadership expert Stephan R. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, believes that downtime is instrumental in “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have — you.”
This means one must have a balanced program for renewal that emphasizes exercise, resting, eating well, a spiritual practice (meditation, music, art, prayer, spending time in nature), as well as reading or writing.
As you renew yourself, according to Covey, “you create growth and change in your life … You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?”
How do you break the addiction of being “too busy?” Start with this … take out a piece of paper and answer this question:
If I made myself a priority in my life what would my days look like?
With open eyes and an honest heart what can you implement today? Right now? I am willing to bet if you redirected some of that busyness energy into recreating your day you will find that idleness is far more attractive than “crazy busy.”
Donna Lynn says
The 7 Habits. They look so easy. Incorporating them it’s hard but powerful. Thanks for the reminder that we can choose.
You’re preaching to the choir ~ and I’m delighted! One of the things that helped me sort through some of this was is the idea that we often confuse “busyness” with “productivity” or “effectiveness.” When I take time and make space, I’m generally a lot less busy and much more effective.
Kat Tozier says
“If I made myself a priority in my life, what would my life look like?” – If we can get every woman to ask herself that question, the world will be a completely different place 🙂
It’s interesting to consider that “busyness” is the outward manifestation of anxiety…
Claudia LeBaron Islas says
Very good question “If I made myself a priority in my life what would my days look like?”. My answer is: I would do everything I said I wanted to do that would make me feel better -accomplished, fulfilled and joyful.
Love it – such a simple question, but it will produce massive results!
Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) says
I took an hour (maybe a bit more) between a chiropractor visit and coming back to the office today to wander around a bit in Marin and take myself out to a bookstore and to lunch in the warm California sunshine. Heaven. I might not accomplish everything on my business to-do list that I had planned for today, but I feel balanced and renewed.
This is spot on Melissa! I was a “crazy busy” person for years and then chronic illness flattened me. Now I practice more idle time than I care to. However, it forced me to value the importance of slowing down, relaxing, giving my body and mind the time to rejuvenate. It’s so critical for our overall well-being.