Everyone thinks they are busy. Employed, unemployed, young, old, with kids, without kids, rich or poor. We all think we are rushed off our feet. Because just as we tend to spend what we earn, we can swell and shrink tasks to fill our days. Ask a student to buy you a stamp and fill out a form and you’d think they were suddenly required to run a country. The effort. The exhaustion. The management.
Busy has become a status symbol. A ridiculous American survey recently revealed that people who say they are busy are perceived as more successful; socially and professionally. The thing about constantly saying and thinking about how busy you are, is this: It makes you both unattractively smug and inefficiently panicked. Busy is not a happy place. Busy is a stretched place. It should mean ‘thriving’ but it has come to mean ‘suffocating’.
So let’s try something RADICAL. Let’s ban busy. Let’s just pretend that busy isn’t a thing. Let’s not actualise and verbalise our constant feeling of being slightly on the edge. Apart from anything else, busy is an isolating answer to a ‘How are you really doing’ question. It’s a tool you can use to set yourself apart, stop the conversation, reveal nothing: A shield of busy-ness.
The way to thrive within a crunched schedule is to take each thing on its own and at its own merits. If you look at your life and see only a tidal wave of busy coming at you, maybe consider channelling those curious people who always smile and say, “It’s all good.” Smug, possibly. Strange, definitely – but they look happier than we do.