Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm too busy

How many times have you said that this week?

It might have been when you were asked how your week was going - oh! so busy. Or when your were asked to take on a role at  the school/church/soccer - Look I''d love to but I'm just so busy.  

Do you enjoy being busy?  Do you work well when you have a dozen things on your plate?  What constitutes busy for you? Work - play - kids stuff - housework and gardening?

So here's a tough question for you:
Are you really that busy?  And if so, why is that?  I wonder when busy became this normal state of mind.

I'm pretty sure my own mother didn't complain (if that's the correct word) about being busy.  She just did what she had to do each day and that was that.  I don't doubt her life was busy, and in many ways more than mine, in that there was no automatic washing machine, dishwasher, slow cooker to chug away while she did other chores.  She didn't have a car so it took longer to get anywhere.  My brother and I had a lot of after school activities so there was plenty of running around, and the consequent committee meetings and parent help duties to fulfil. She sewed and knits and preserved.  Those things certainly kept her busy (idle hands and all that!) but I doubt she considered this stressful work.

That's the difference I think.  In our society we all too readily equate 'busy'' with ''stressed''.  And we also seem to use ''busy'' as a euphemism for ''I don't want to'', perhaps because it sounds more worthy?

Certainly I have a busy life.  The usual stuff.  But I also think I have plenty of down time.  And whilst I might ''keep myself busy'' ironing while I watch the television, or sorting photographs, or pottering in the garden, I don't consider these things as part of busy-ness, mainly because I would argue they are all by choice.  Kids stuff, yes, that can be busy.  But there's an easy out as far as I can see.  It's a little word called NO.  So when the children ask to do a sport, an instrument a hobbie and whatever else, I say no.  I don't think it will damage them not to start team sports until their older.  It won't hurt them not to be rushing off to some kind of self-betterment three days a week.  And it certainly won't kill them to have to play at home and not at a friends after school.

So my challenge to you, and to me, is this:  next time you are asked how you are, don't respond with ''busy''.  Next time you're asked a favour, and you don't want to do it, don't use the ''busy'' excuse.  And think about how you are actually spending your time.  Are you busy because you want to be?  And if not, what could you stop doing?


Unknown said...

I hate being busy and I tend to resent other people's busy ness when they haven't the time to spend with me. I can't stand having to keep a diary and remember to check it each morning to see how my day has been planned. Fortunately I am at a stage in my life where I don't have to be busy all the time and I refuse to be hooked into guilt feelings cast by Busy people. In my experience busy people just don't get that we are humans being. I prefer to be creative, productive even but never busy.

susan said...

yes! next time I'm asked to join another committee I am going to respond: thanks but I'm already productive enough.
brilliant concept.
And it is certainly the expectations of others that lead to guilt of being too busy - or not busy enough. Their problem not ours...