Being busy is almost like a double-edged sword. Now, for the sake of transparency, I don’t think I’ve ever owned, used, or tried to chop someone in half with a double-edged sword, but the premise behind the analogy is that the sword cuts both ways. Being busy or having the busy life can be a blessing…and a curse, right? I tell myself I like being busy, which…honestly, I do. My mind tends to wander or I end up binge-watching Netflix when it’s not occupied with work. But on the flipside, when you work all the time, there’s no downtime to recuperate, revitalized, or reinvigorate oneself. Or you end up turning down your friends and family when they ask you to hang out or come over for Sunday dinner. So what do you do if you say this all the time:
“I would love to, it’s just that I’m so busy, I don’t have the time.”
Does anyone else say this? Like, a lot? Like me? Well…then you’re in luck because I’ve been wanting to write a post on this for a while now, but guess what…I’ve been so busy… Now that I have two hours until my next meeting I think I’ll pause to articulate this nagging, suspicious feeling I’ve had for quite some time about the Busy Life. But before I go into my critical observation, let me explain a few things attributed to the Busy Life.
The Busy Life…explained
The way I usually explain the busy life is by saying this: Life is busy when you have obligations that occupy your time and it’s not the actual activity or thing you’d like to be doing. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can be busy and be doing the things you’d like to be doing, but why would that be a bad thing?
People always tend to connect the act of being busy with negativity, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I’m busy my entire work week, with work, with side projects, with volunteer stuff, meeting up with friends, and so on. But that’s not a bad thing if it’s something I want to be doing, right?
Busy the life, busy the body, busy the mind
I work remotely, so if I never wanted to leave the house, I wouldn’t really have to. But I like being social, so I volunteer with YLC and other groups to hang out and get out of my daily remote-working routine. Then I’ll most certainly read up on new technologies or new trends, or terms, or whatever because that’s the kind of stuff that really interests me.
Busy bodies and minds mean they’re active, and being active is a really good thing. Physical activity stops the process of your muscles being atrophied. Mental activity helps your mind retain information better. Being active can be considered a result of healthy living. So, why aren’t we telling people “we’re active” when they ask how our lives are going? Why do we say “we’re soooo busy?” Well, I have a theory.
A theory on being busy and it’s context within society
I think we’re all lead to believe that people want to hear that other people are busy. Simultaneously, we equate being busy with something negative, but we also equate it to success. Successful people are busy. They don’t binge-watch Netflix, they don’t sit around all day, they conquer they’re dreams by being active. They seek out what they want and actively pursue it. But time and again, we hear those words — “I’m so busy,” “work is so busy,” “life is so busy.”
People talk about balance all the time. “You need time to decompress,” “you need time for yourself” I hear people say. Heck, I’ve said it myself. But that’s easy enough to do and it doesn’t mean going on vacation for 3 weeks and totally de-connecting (not a word) from technology. It means balancing your time in your own way.
Busy-ness and the balance equation
I also have this other theory surrounding the balancing of time. It goes a little something like this:
BT = DeCR% / 100 x Mob
You probably have no idea what this equation means. Simply put your Balanced Time is equal to your Decompression Rate percentage divided by 100, times the Minutes of busy-ness. I’ll explain. My Decompression Rate is rather low, it’s 4%. For every hour of hard work I do, I need approximately 2.4 minutes (4% of 60 minutes) of decompression. So after about 5 hours of doing something, I’ll need 12 minutes of meditation or another decompression activity.
You need to find your Decompression Rate and that comes with time. How long can you stare at a computer before your eyes go blurry and you can’t think anymore? Figure it out. Then take that number, which may change as time goes on, and use it when “being busy.” You’ll thank yourself for finding your balanced time.
Redefinition of being busy
To close this post out I’ll say that writing this didn’t cause me to be more busy, it caused me to be more active. And from here on out when people ask me how my life is going, I’ll say “it’s active.” Which will probably get them to inquire more, which in turn might spark an interesting conversation, where as I may send them to this link to check out.
Most of the people I know have active lives, and mostly they all enjoy (to a certain degree) what they do. So seek out the active life for the things you really want to be doing, make time for that, I know you can. But whatever you do, don’t let “being busy” define you anymore. If you are super busy and you enjoy what you’re doing, tell people you’re active. It’ll reshape the way people reply to the things going on in your life.