When I was scrolling through my Pinterest news feed recently I found something that really resonated with me. It was small picture with a powerful message:
It really got me thinking. Why is it that in 2016 we place so much value on being busy? And more importantly, why are we allowing this? How often do you ask someone how they’re doing and their response is “O my goodness, I’m just so busy.” They then proceed to tell you how they woke up before the sun rose and went to gym and woke the kids and made breakfast and sat in two hours of traffic and had a meeting and and AND. Phew. I’m exhausted just typing that. And yet here we sit, praising these people whose lives are overwhelmed with ‘busy-ness’ and then feeling like our own lives are somehow inadequate because we’re not doing as much. Trust me, I’ve been there. We seem to have equated a busy life to a valuable life. That somehow your worth is increased as you complete more and more tasks. So that when you climb into bed at midnight, wracked with anxiety and fatigue, you can feel proud of the life you are cultivating because you are just so busy.
That’s no kind of life if you ask me.
Think of the stress that we encounter on a daily basis. We worry about finances, our health, the price of petrol and everything in between. Now on top of that we want to add even more stress with a never-ending to do list? I don’t know about you but that sounds like a terrible idea. I get palpitations just thinking about it.
I think it was Socrates who wrote “beware the barrenness of a busy life”. Isn’t it ironic, that we fill our lives with tasks and activities, and yet still we feel like there is something missing? It makes sense though; the more tasks you keep adding to your life, the less time you will have for things that really matter. Time to spend with a loved one. Time to sit down with a cup of tea. Time to rest. As a result we feel exhausted, depressed and cheated out of a big and beautiful life.
We have become a society obsessed with being busy. Sit down in front of the TV for an hour and you’ll see just how many vitamin and energy drink adverts come on, giving us ways to increase feelings of vitality in order that we may keep up with our hectic lives. We feed this obsession by praising (and envying) the busy bees. We compare ourselves to those people that are always on the go, and feel inadequate for not being able to achieve what they do. We feel guilt when we take time out for ourselves, and a sense of failure when we don’t achieve the day’s tasks.
The trouble is, how do end this vicious cycle? I’m certainly no expert, and my desire to add tasks to my life still exists. But I think we all need to start refining our to-do lists. Before deciding that a task needs to be done ask yourself: how important is this task, and over what period of time can it be completed in. Not everything needs to be done within the next 24 hours! And some things don’t need to be done at all. We need to stop feeling guilty over an unfinished task sheet. We definitely need to stop feeling guilty when we take time out to rest and relax. And most importantly for me, we have to stop praising busy. When someone asks you how you are, resist the urge to tell them how busy, stressed or exhausted you feel. Tell them how excited you are by life, how grateful you are for a new project that’s come your way or how relaxed you are feeling after a lovely restful weekend.
It’s time for a revolution. It’s time to break our addiction to a hectic life. And it’s definitely time to stop the glorification of busy.
Thanks for stopping by. And please, take some time out for you today
Published by Gen Ferraris