Are you busy? How busy? Really? You're THAT busy? Wow, I gotta admit, that's a lot busier than I am.
If you repeatedly sum up your life with exclamations of busyness, it might be time to read Brigid Schulte's book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.
In Hanna Rosin's article about the book for Slate.com, she explores the author's study of the fascinating and worrying apotheosis of busyness. Schulte interviews many experts in different fields to discover the cause of the phenomenon, including an expert in language, Ann Burnett, who discovered something shocking:
Burnett realized that busyness of a certain kind—meaning not the work-three-menial-jobs-and-put-your-kids-in-precarious-day-care-by-necessity kind—became a mark of social status, that somewhere in the drudgery of checklists and the crumpled heaps one could detect a hint of glamour. “My God, people are competing about being busy,” Burnett realized. “It’s about showing status. That if you’re busy, you’re important. You’re leading a full and worthy life. … As if you don’t get to choose, busyness is just there. I call it the nonchoice choice. Because people really do have a choice.”
While some responsibilities will always require our attention, there are others that we can choose to avoid. I think we need to make a conscious choice to avoid committing our time and energy to activities that don't really add value to our lives. Then we'll have more time to spend on things that we really care about. That way, we can be busy (and even brag about being busy, if we want to) without feeling busy - even if we're busy doing nothing.
So, what choices will you make to become less busy?