“Stop the glorification of busy.” I remember coming across this quote while perusing online a few months ago. My initial response was: “How could being busy be glorified?” Not too long after I scrolled past one of those, “You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé” inspirational memes and I thought, “That’s how.” But I realized the idea is so much more than overused inspirational quotes, and I wanted to dig deeper into why being busy means so much to us.
For some reason, it seems like we measure and equate our importance with how many hours we’ve filled up in our day. While speaking with a former boss, I asked if she was busy and she responded coldly with, “I’m always busy,” and
then proceeded to wreck my soul with an even colder glare. It’s statements like that from people with power and success I feel have become embedded in us as a societal
rule; busy equals success. Even articles that follow top CEOs from the morning they wake up to the moment they go
to sleep make it seem like they barely
have a second in the day to digest
or even breathe.
I think a lot of us are guilty of running down our to-do lists to just about anyone who will listen every now and then. As if essentially boasting about how little time we have is some sort of self-validation of our worthiness. Moreover, I’m sure we’ve even all come across those fellow FIT classmates, who are working, interning, taking the maximum credits, whilst having a social life somewhere in between (or maybe you are that very classmate). I’ve even come across people who competitively talk about how many classes they’re taking each semester as if it were a sport. Some would argue those people are just overachievers while others might just say that’s just a typical FIT student. But then we know those people who always seem to have free time and we tend to look at them with envy even though we know good and well with a little push we could probably be just like them.
There are plenty of people that allow being busy to play as a scapegoat to avoid and forgo plans. I know every now and then I like to use the “busy” excuse to cop out of plans because no one argues with busy. It’s quick, you don’t have to get into details (but you probably will), and everyone gets it. But sometimes people even use being busy to avoid acknowledging other things in their lives. It’s as if filling up our time with other voluntary tasks fills the void of other, less “glamorous” things going on in our lives. We become so involved with our obligations that any free moment in the day fills us with an odd sense of guilt.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day I feel that there’s nothing wrong with being busy and there’s nothing wrong with not being busy. Some people thrive off of always having something to do, while others may take pride in being able to squeeze in a nap every day. It’s important, especially for our generation, knowing that there is nothing wrong with pressing pause on your life once in a while.
Always being busy may just allow life to pass you by. Simple things like swapping out that work meeting for lunch with a old friend or skipping that study session for an outing with family, or even just carving out some “me time” are steps in finding a healthy equilibrium. Productivity can be addicting but there’s value in being able to find a balance and tapping back into that little thing called your peace of mind.