You’re Not Failing At Life If You’re Not Busy

April 11, 2017

Wow, isn’t life just busy? Ask anyone, they will tell you. So busy, so much on. Can barely grab a minute to one’s self. Work, oh god, children, weekend commitments. Very, very busy.

Very, very boring. Very unfulfilling. Very much a cop out on life.

I ask you, on a scale of one to ten, how well do you manage your time? Do you know when you’ll next have a spare hour or two to do absolutely nothing or something entirely for your own selfish satisfaction? Are you spending your time doing the stuff that nourishes and fulfils you?

Or are you just avoiding the harder questions about where you’re at with your life by throwing the word ‘busy’ into every conversation?

We are collectively bemoaning our modern working lives and the responsibilities of also balancing home and family. Some of the most interesting observations seek to call out the fall-back position of ‘being busy’ and the almost endemic use of the term which enables so many people to abdicate from a range of life experiences. Derek Sivers speaks about this in his interviews with Tim Ferriss and Sarah Knight goes straight to the source in her book, ‘Get your Shit Together.’

There has never been a worse time to try and keep up with the Jones’. If you’re not tied to a desk, trying to juggle family and struggling to get the right amount of sleep then, baby, you just ain’t like the rest of them. How did we come to this? How did we bury ourselves in overwhelming crap that keeps us on the treadmill to life chaos? Busy isn’t a success. It’s a sign that we are failing to have control over that beautiful thing called life.

Our lives are filled with the mental to-do lists that take over not only our peacefulness but our relationships. It’s very easy to lock yourself into busy mode, because hell, you may have to really look at your life if you’ve got a minute. When we do find ourselves in the middle of a quiet period it usually freaks us out. Because we don’t know what we should be doing with our time. There it is, ‘Our Time’. Remember that?

Often we’re overwhelmed by the combination of home, work, relationships and children, especially if we are women (god only knows we don’t need more on our collective plates). Sometimes it’s just because we’re keeping up with everyone else because otherwise it could be perceived we’re simply lazy.

So how do we gain control of our time? By learning to say no. By clearing our plate of things that really don’t enrich or nourish us, we will have the opportunity to say ‘Yes’ to those wonderful, unexpected things when they come along. The continuous filling of our lives with more and more unimportant and innocuous tasks also helps us to numb ourselves to the things we really want to do, explore and experience.

It’s a way of avoiding change, whether it be bad or, heaven forbid, good for you. Busy is bullshit. Busy means you’re not looking deeply enough at yourself and where your life is going. We use busy to hide from life.

If we can go to that place and be honest about how we wish to spend our time then we begin to transform our lives. It can start with swapping our ‘to do list’ with ‘I want to do’ list.

Next time someone asks you how you are make sure you leave the B word at the door. Practice not going to the automatic busy throwaway line. Go a little deeper. Take a breath, a moment. Respond with your truth. Say where you’re at. Say that you’re heading home to host a dinner. Mention that you’re off to watch your children play sport. Be courageous enough to tell them you have an appointment with your couch. Busy is boring. And there is so much more to life…

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Libby Fordham
Writer, thinker, creator – Libby is interested in the things that make the world turn. She loves to explore modern life, its ironies, complexities and culture. She is currently writing her first book while also juggling a business, her art and her family.