Recently I’ve seen more and more articles coming up about the focus in our culture on being busy. It seems that we measure our worth based on how in demand our time is. The more notifications I get on my phone, the more times an alert goes off from my calendar that I have somewhere to be, and the longer my to do list, the more simultaneously overwhelmed and valued I feel.
Now although it is not a bad thing to do a lot and schedule the vast majority of your time, it becomes a problem when you take pride in being busy and sacrifice your sanity and relaxation time. Far too often I find myself breathlessly running from one obligation to the next with little time for myself. I have been working on saying no more often and taking the time to re-center myself, but it comes down to more than that. There needs to be a fundamental change in how we culturally determine our self worth.
This change must start with our own conduct and view on our value. Here are some practical tips to overcome the pressure that both society puts on us and that we inflict on ourselves to constantly be busy.
- Set aside “do nothing” time. This is so, so hard to do because every second is valuable and we could be spending it accomplishing something. However, having quiet time and doing something just for ourselves, like reading or journaling, is actually accomplishing something. Having downtime will make you more productive when you do work and will contribute to your happiness.
- Turn off your notifications for a bit. Whether it’s a weekend, a day, or even just a few hours, taking that time away from constant connection will give you time to reflect and probably make you more productive too!
- Realize that it’s not a contest. Have you ever had a conversation with a friend where you seem to be competing over who is more busy (and trying to “win”)? I know I have and it is so unhealthy. Redefine the conversation and share what you are working on, but also how you are getting time away.
A full life does not translate to a full calendar. It is difficult to accept this mindset, but at a point becomes essential. I am still working on getting there and imagine many others are too. Let us make a conscious effort to not view being busy as a badge of honor, but rather seek a balanced life.
Do you exalt the busy? How do you determine your self-worth? What advice do you have for people caught in the busy cycle?