Are You Too Busy?

Aug 27, 2015 | Creativity

Are You Too Busy?

Busy is a modern normal. Really busy.  So busy that the typical response I hear when I ask someone how they’re doing has gone from “I’m great.” or “Things are good.” to … “I’m great, but really busy.”

Why are we so busy? Does it help anything? Are we actually too busy to really live? 

multicolored succulents

I was in Asheville not too long ago and I saw coloring books. For grown ups.  And I got one. And I saw waterfalls. And I walked in one. And I saw trees. And I hiked in them and hugged them.

And everything still got done that needed to get done.

No one talked about being busy.

Back home in LA, it’s back to the business of busy.

As a kid I remember even the most successful people I’d meet spending time eating dinner with the family, having nights by the pool, going to the theater, watching our dance recitals.  Essentially, no one was that busy.

In fact, when I envisioned myself as a lawyer (yeah, that was a thing I was going to do when I was a kid) I saw myself leaving work every night to go home to eat with my family and take amazing trips and have fun…

I didn’t see a world where I’d enlist myself in a non-stop, sleep-free, stress-fueled, hour-logging career that some of my friends had when they started out in big law firms in our present day life.

I didn’t think that busy would be something to be proud of.

Why work if you don’t get to enjoy it?

Tim Kreider’s New York Times article The Busy Trap explores our cultural obsession with being busy.  It opens with the line:

“If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are.”

The whole article is HERE and it’s a must-read if you are busy all the time!

I thought it had to be this way.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I became obsessed with being busy when I wanted to hide from certain parts of life that seemed too problematic like a string of soul-sucking relationships and crazy-making friendships.  It was noble, it was great, it was applauded…

“Wow you’re so busy that’s amazing!”

“Oh you’re so lucky you’re so busy!”

It wasn’t lucky or amazing.

It was unproductive and it was actually draining the color from my life.

Yes, I love what I do creatively and as my work.  You might love what you do, too.

But magic often comes in the moments you aren’t doing things.

When you’re playing around, laying on the beach, going on a hike not out of obligation but for actual enjoyment (!) or anything else just for fun and not on a schedule and not because you have to… it’s yin.

Yin is receptive.

Yin is the energy that is soft and brings you what you want without having to go and go and go.

If you’re too busy right now, take a real break.  I know… you can’t.  I’ve been there.

Do it anyway.

When you can let more unstructured time into your life, you open up to recieving more. Ideas, connection, emotion, inspiration… love, opportunity… all of it.

The more you feel the pressure of the group-think about being busy the more it will take over.  Instead of enjoying the Sunday afternoon doing noting you realize that other people are busy and posting it on Fecebook and Instagram so you plan, and work and do and do.

I stopped being proud of being busy.

Someone asked me if I wanted to look back at my life and have only flashbacks of sitting at a computer or behind a camera or a phone.

No. Way.

I made a change.

I stopped compulsively checking the computer, the phone… I started sleeping more and going to do things that interested me when they interested me…

Yes, I still do the same amount of stuff. Much more actually. I just don’t look at it as an obligation. It’s more flowing and fun because I actualy do things in between. I look forward to doing nothing- or having pure fun- and letting downtime be downtime.

I admire people who take breaks from work, real vacations, real play and have lots of downtime to explore and live wider and more adventurously.

Now, when I’m extremely busy it’s a special event, not my mantra.

Everything works better.  And there’s so much more time.

You’ll only know how it works for you if you try it!

xoxo Dana




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