The other day I was reading an interesting and possibly somewhat provocative article by Dina Kaplan the Founder of The Path and Co-Founder of Blip.tv. The article entitled The Cult of Busy really got me thinking. So today I thought I'd try and put a few of my many thoughts about it down on paper (sorry computer!) to see what conclusions I can draw, hopefully offer some ideas to help out those who seem to be eternally busy and also get your feedback on the subject. The idea intrigues me and without passing any sort of judgement on anyone whatsoever I wanted to think about it a little further.
Now as the article states there are a few exceptions to the rule to be covered off before going any further - namely people with young children, those with a truly brutal commute and those juggling more than one job just in order to make ends meet - as Dina notes these people are truly busy and fair play.
I'll begin by saying that I know a lot of very busy people and I don't by any means doubt their workload and genuine trials and tribulations of daily life. We all go through it, we all know the feeling, we all live in the same world where things move so fast now that we spend all of our time gripping on tightly just trying to keep up.
Even working for myself, trying to grow myself a new career I'm sure that some people don't really believe that I'm working hard or am busy in the way they see fit. I honestly want to make something of myself and my future. As I've said before I'm so very lucky to have the support behind me to be able to take a break and pursue a passion - to try and create something new. I'm not just having a jolly though and believe me I put far more pressure on myself now than I did when I worked day to day in an office. Now it's down to me to prove the doubters wrong and bring my own opportunities to my door. This is a fear and a feeling of judgement that I have to learn to deal with - and part of it I'm afraid comes from those caught up in the cult of busy!
The thing is we CAN make a conscious decision to change just some of the load that we put on ourselves day to day we just have to step back, be brutally honest with ourselves and look at why we're doing what we're doing - is all of it really necessary and productive?
In the article Dina touches on how busy can become a way of life. Even at times a somewhat glamourous excuse for the things that we don't make time for but know that we probably could and should. 'Busy should be a confession and not a boast' and I think that in many ways this is true even though I don't believe that all people are consciously behaving this way, society has kind of just bought us to this point. It's akin to the recent phenomena in the press where people are starting to compete about how much (or should I say how little) sleep they are getting. 'Sleep boasting' shouldn't be a thing - lack of sleep is dangerous and can lead to serious health problems so why on earth are we competing to see who slept the least! Stop it!
If you sit back and think of all of the demands on our time that we're allowing ourselves to absorb and how stressful it is then just think what that will feel like to the younger generation who will be bought up in the thick of it. We must take a moment to address some of these issues.
In the coming weeks I plan to write about some of the really useful tips that I picked up at last weeks Hacking Happiness conference and will cover off some of the ideas for re-pacing your life in more detail. Today though I wanted to bring this topic to your attention. Are you filling your day with truly, equally productive tasks or is some of what you are doing a response to the demands of others and your own need to feel busy? Take a read of the article (if you can make the time!!) I say this because there are some really useful ideas in there that might help you to claw back some of your own time if you can just mindfully start thinking about what your real work and life priorities are.
You may not realise it but some of what you are doing day to day, that may seem really important, may in fact be a response to that ultimate seduction of the constant incoming stress plied to you via technology along with the need to please others. As Dina states 'busy' has a dangerous allure. What would be more interesting is finding the time to be consciously not busy. Then you might just find that you do have time and you can ultimately find ways to genuinely be more productive.
So finally I would say that of course being busy is great if you're fulfilled and on top of things - but continually being too busy well maybe that's something worth looking at.
What are your thoughts?
Here are some other interesting articles that I found whilst researching this post. One an interview with Dina and another that I just found really interesting and thought you may too!
Mentoring The Next Generation - Forbes