How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives. Annie Dilliard
Isn't this the most asinine question? Busy?! No, I was just napping or sitting on my hands waiting for you to call, knock or interrupt the boring silence I call my life.
We are all so busy. Not sure what we are doing and whether we are making a difference, but we are indeed very preoccupied with stuff. Important stuff. Well at least stuff that matters to hopefully someone. But one thing is certain we are busy!
Let's get real. According to time diaries kept for more than a decade, we have more leisure time than we ever have. The researcher John Robinson says, "Americans actually have more leisure time, are less rushed, less stressed, and sleep much more than we think we do." And we have been lying about how busy we are for 50 years. I can hear your predictable cries of protest. I know none of my readers are average, but tv viewing and use of internet media is up to all time highs. Anyway, Robinson estimates we all have about 40 hours of "free" time each week.
I have tried to ban the B Word, from every environment I have had any control over. Ask my colleagues from my past lives. My point is to help people stop the habit of valuing how "busy" we are and instead reflect on their priorities and the bigger picture.
I’m a big proponent of “busy is a decision.” You decide what you want to do and the things that are important to you. And you don’t find the time to do things — you make the time to do things. And if you aren’t doing them because you’re “too busy,” it’s likely not as much of a priority as what you’re actually doing. Debbie Millman
My motivation is to continue my rehab as a recovering busy body, where I foolishly thought that activity equalled productivity or even importance. I never realized how much I stressed myself out and everyone around me.
Don't get me wrong I am type A+, I fault my parents, my immigrant grandparents, my DNA, the internet, cell phones and anything and anyone and everything that has influenced me. :) The reality is I try to maximize my usefulness, my waking time, my chances, my fleeting moments to do as much as I can. Not as a contest, but just because I realize that there is no way to measure the fuel left in my tank.
Been to too many funerals and memorials for people much younger than me--Who died "too young". I live life like many people as if I was part of a dutch auction where you start with the highest price, and as the price drops, you bid on the way down. Versus building my empire and my "retirement funds" for some magical time in the future where all my deferred gratification will occur. Makes no sense to me. I want this time right now to be a full life of no regrets!
God, what surprises you most about humanity?
"That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.”
“That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.”
“That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither
the present nor the future.”
“That they live as if they will never die, and die as though they had never lived."
Excerpt from Interview with God poem.
I meet people every month who literally say they are too busy for their friends and family.
I worked with an up and coming executive. He was single (still single), no kids, not even a pet. No real hobbies. He would talk about impressive things he would do, but not because he was passionate about them because he liked the way they sounded. But mostly he talks about how busy he is. I know you know one of these types, they are everywhere. Busy people whose greatest accomplishment is being busy. I have nothing against people who choose a single life. Or people who mostly work. What I resent is when people, who have no passion(s) and personal commitments, tell me how busy they are and have no empathy for their colleagues who have many other obligations.
If your life is full of love and commitment, then your busyness can be fulfilling.
When you are aligned with your work and your life, time is not the question. How busy you are is never an issue. You gain energy from the work. It is a virtuous cycle.
Being busy is like gravity to earthlings and water to fish. We do not need to discuss it, we do not question it. We focus on what we are doing not how long it takes or what we are not doing.
Being busy is good if it matters to you.
Stop using the B word. Being busy is no career or life strategy. And start thinking about how you will take control of your busyness.
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it. Seneca (circa 50AD)
Get busy being you.
Thanks for reading. John