How do you define 'busy'? To me, it's defined by three conditions: when I don't get enough sleep and rest, when my waking hours are spent on one activity after another, and the task list keeps growing. There's no breathing room when one is busy.
Between August and October, I was busy preparing for publishing my first book. While I loved working on a big goal, I constantly slept with a headache and that wasn't fun.
Being too busy has two effects.
Doing too many activities in a day can likely distract you from what's truly important. Not having clarity of purpose means you can easily get distracted by things that seem important but will only do you more harm than good in the long term.
When you spread yourself out, you spread yourself thin. -Gary Keller
Whenever I feel too lazy to write, I grab and use my phone mindlessly which eventually wastes my time and lessens my motivation to write. This is something I clearly need to work on.
It feels good to be accomplishing and ticking off boxes in our to-do lists, but it also uses A LOT of energy, leaving you tired and deflated at the end of the day.
The overwhelmed and overscheduled manner in which we currently operate isn’t working. -Cal Newport
Physical and mental exhaustion are real. I noticed, as I got older, I want and need more time for rest and sleep.
The Antidote to Busyness
This is what I found to be the antidote for being busy, or wanting to look busy: knowing what makes sense in the long run.
These are the things that make sense to most of us in the next 3, 5, and 10 years:
1. Health and safety - Aging and death are inevitable, what kind of life do you want to live before that happens?
2. Goals - It could be retirement, investments, college education for the children. What are you working towards?
3. Positive relationships - Who are the people that support and love you and how do you keep the relationships alive?
4. Quality of life - What kind of life do you want to live in the next 5, 10 years?
5. Legacy - What do you want to leave behind?
We may need a slow productivity revolution more than we need an economic revolution. -Cal Newport
When we know what matters, we identify what doesn't.
When we know what to spend our time and energy on, we recognize when we are getting distracted by things that are only good for now but not for later.
These are good resources if you feel being busy is getting in the way of real life:
Odyssa is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. She also publishes stories in Medium. Be a Medium member by clicking here. To subscribe to her stories by email, click this.