Life is so fast paced theses days; we have instant access to information and hyper-connectivity with each other, there is so much stuff floating around and whizzing past us that in can be difficult to keep up. This can often make it difficult for us to find escape from everything and for us to work out where our priorities lie. I am going to discuss why I think busyness can be detrimental to our balance and our happiness. When you really look in to it you’ll find it makes such little sense. How many of the activities that we do that can be classed as busyness actually add to our lives. On your deathbed will you regret not working more evenings and weekends or are you more likely to regret missing time with family, friends, lovers, books or any of the many valuable things we can do to enrich our lives.
This is not to say that working hard for reward is necessarily bad in and of itself but the whole thing is about finding the balance that allows you to survive according to the laws of economics but also, more importantly to find time for the joyful, playful and fun parts of life. I’m not talking about the busyness that involves working two jobs to make ends meet or to get through education but the busyness that can come when we have a little more comfort, the busyness that means our day involves one hundred and one activities, the busyness that makes our days non-stop and leave us knackered at the end of it when we try to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before we wake up the next day to rinse and repeat but with less energy than the day before.
What really gets me is the idea of being busy for the sake of it, the idea of always having to do something. Can you see how this is a way we impose stress on ourselves? This self imposed busyness can have many reasons behind it but the purpose of this is not for me to psychoanalyse you but to wake you up to see that there may be things you do that are born of wanting to keep yourself distracted from what or who you are. I know that I used to use activity as a measure of worthiness but when I realised this was a fallacy I began to do things for myself and since then life gets richer and richer everyday. Yes we may not do this consciously but it’s something worth recognising. Imagine your mind as horse, if the horse is carrying a comfortable weight it will be able to travel great distances and as long as it takes regular rests it will retain its stamina and be a trusty steed on your journey. If you laden the horse with too much stuff and ask it to run relentlessly, without rest or the care it needs, there will sooner or later come a time when the horse drops dead and you’re in trouble. Don’t kill the horse, and if it drops dead don’t flog the bastard either.
Dropping some of the excessive crap we do gives us more time to reflect and renew, this allows us to gain perspective and to evaluate what we are doing in our lives. If we don’t have the time to do this we run ourselves into the ground and pass up great opportunities we have to wake up and smell the roses and appreciate the richness of life and the beauty around us.
I decided to give up so much of the rubbish I was busying myself with four years ago. If you keep a calendar check out how much stuff you have on there. I noticed almost everything fell into one of three categories: events you agreed to go to because you felt obliged, visits to people or places you have little interest in and the things we have arranged that we are excited about—the stuff that fills us with a childlike anticipation. Yes there will be things we’ll have to do because sometimes we must keep commitments—that’s just part of life. The things we have coming up that we are not that bothered about we should just cancel, there’s no point in doing anything that we feel blasé about, better to do nothing than spend time practicing indifference. The things that we have that we look forward to is the good stuff, the stuff that we should aim to fill our lives with as much as possible. When you can declutter your arrangements you can get to the nectar of life, the part of life that makes you feel grateful to be alive.
That’s why you’re alive, right? You’re alive to enjoy your time on this Earth so sack off the stuff you don’t care about, evaluate what is actually important, what you might regret doing too much of or not enough of at the end of your life. Get things in order, prioritise and spend as much time as you can doing the things that add to your life, the things that make you feel good, that spread love, screw everything else because what else is there?
Are there things you do for the sake of keeping busy?