Are You Always Too Busy?

By 23:00 , , , , , ,

Too often I hear that people around me are too busy. I'm a culprit of this myself, although recently I've been trying to organize my work and social life, because I've realized I'm really not busy at all, I'm just not taking care of myself (this includes my mind!) enough.

I came across this article from the NY Times called "The Busy Trap," via a blog I follow, and it really hit home for me, and I'm sure will for most people who live in metropolitan cities around the world! I have a friend who moved to New York City earlier this year to work for a big publisher, and before this, living in small town CT as a nanny, she would tell me that she would go to the gym everyday, go to work, then try to find something to do in the evenings, but that she was usually pretty bored. Now, every time I talk to her (which has become less than we used to), she's always "way too busy" for this or that because of her commute, and now that she's living in the City, because of work, and etc. If I weren't on my own path towards organizing my priorities and attempting to stop saying I'm so busy all the time, I probably wouldn't even have noticed this change, because I'd be in the same boat.

It's funny how as soon as we change professions, move to a bigger city, or overall are incredibly ambitious, that we tend to use this language on a daily basis.

Up until a few months ago, I was the type of person who was so busy, I'd tell everyone I could only hang out for a few hours on the weekend, because I had to work, because, as the article says, being busy makes you sound important. I'm still working on this, and catch myself saying the "B" word every once in a while, but a little meditation, uncluttering my life (physically and emotionally), and organizing my day is slowly helping me to relax. Remember how I said I had a lazy Saturday this past weekend? Well, hopefully this following weekend will be just as lazy. This is something I learned from reading this part of the article:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.

This is something I'm trying to learn to master, which is tough for me - it's almost a paradox - in our little world of entrepreneurs and ambitious folk, we're taught to chase after multiple classes, read whatever "opening your own business" book that's popular these days, working constantly on design thinking, and have notepads in your bathroom for jotting down ideas and whatnot.

When was the last time you were just idle? That you weren't actively trying to come up with some genius new idea or thinking about work?

This weekend I'm going to the beach to enjoy our wonderfully welcome spring weather. I hope to not think about work, or even my life back in the city or my family. I just want to lay on my sarong and listen to the waves + be idle. If I think of the next most revolutionary startup, GREAT. It not, that's okay too. I don't have to create more busy-ness for myself anyway.

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