Recently I came across an article on The Everygirl (Addicted to Busy: When Business is Really Avoidance) that spoke to me immediately, stuck with me throughout the next day, and wedged itself firmly in my brain space.
Take a moment and read it – I’m sure at least one of the points mentioned will resonate with you.
I read it again the next day and couldn’t miss it this time; the article calling me on my bullshit for using “busy” as an excuse to avoid the harder stuff.
I am busy from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, but at the end of the day, I often feel unfulfilled and like I haven’t gotten anything done. I have technically done many things – I’ve gotten up and dressed and fed myself throughout the day, commuted to work, exercised (okay – working on this one…), spent time with my SO, caught up with friends and family, spent 8-10 hours working on marketing projects for clients, running the house and on and on.
All of the above keep me busy enough, but some days there are large chunks of time that seem to disappear. I’m working, but I’m not always producing something meaningful, and that upsets me and often fuels my anxiety.
My initial thoughts after reading the article were that yes, being productive is really important. But why waste time being busy when we could spend a smaller chunk of time creating something true to our values, that fills us up and makes us feel that rush of excitement at having produced something we love?
Because being productive in a way that’s passionate, creative and true to oneself can be really scary. That’s why.
When I go to work in the morning, I am generally not afraid of what will happen. I have an idea of the outstanding projects I need to work on, I have a certain rapport with all of my clients along with an understanding of each of them and their expectations, and I know with confidence I can meet anything that comes my way.
At first glance, that sounds wonderful. But on a deeper level, I don’t always feel productive at the end of these days because I haven’t truly challenged myself creatively.
I spend a large chunk of my day doing things that keep me busy, but they’re also easy.
This doesn’t become a problem until I turn inward and realize that some days, that shallow busyness is all I’ve done. I haven’t truly been present in other aspects of my life and day (like in connection with my SO, my passion for the arts: photography and writing, or in taking care of myself physically and emotionally).
Why? Because I am so burned out from my perpetual busyness that nothing is left for the things that actually matter to me (boyfriend, friends/family, my dog, being creative, personal health, travel).
My personal creative projects are also exciting and scary, and putting them off while pursuing easy, predictable tasks is easier than rising up to the challenge.
Being just around the corner from the start of a new year, I feel as though coming to terms with these things and realizing them about myself is the first step towards the change I know I am ready to make in my heart. I also realize I need to challenge myself, starting now, to be more conscious in everything that I do.
Separating the natural need to be “busy” due to social norms/internal pressure from the fulfillment of truly being busy with projects and pursuits that light us up is the first step towards creating positive change in both our own lives and society.
Let’s boycott “busy.”