I have a full time job. Two blogs. Pets. Friends. I’m active in several committees and groups. I work out. My inbox is rarely at zero. You know, the norm.
I definitely don’t have a lot of down time, but I don’t know that I’d describe myself as busy.
But others would and do describe me that way, so I often find it easier just to nod and smile because the opposite of busy seems to be lazy. Busy, people get. Busy, people respect. But “on top of tasks and occupied but not overwhelmed?” That doesn’t seem to get the same reverent reaction.
I’m not alone:
- The Busy Trap (via The New York Times)
- 80 Percent of Americans Spend An Extra Day a Week Working After Hours (via The Huffington Post)
- Why Bosses No Longer Care if You’re Late for Work (via Mashable)
Many of us have shifted our work days from 9-5 to wakeup-lay down. I’m in that group. I check my email before I get out of bed and on the hour at night, just in case. I often work on weekends — just quick email responses or Web updates — and don’t clock in or out.
(I should also mention that I’m blessed with an extremely flexible schedule and understanding boss — I may work at off hours but I also go to the gym on my lunch break, come in later due to doctor’s appointments, leave early on Fridays, etc.)
But I also watch TV. Read books. Go to bed early whenever possible. Spend Sunday afternoons lounging by the pool or napping on the couch. I work hard but efficiently and very rarely have to turn down fun opportunities because I have “too much to do.”
The article above called “The Busy Trap” is all about the myth of busyness. The author calls himself the laziest ambitious person he knows, and I love his candor. I think that before The Summer of No I would have rolled my eyes and thought he just didn’t know what busy was. But truthfully, it’s about choice.
If you truly have so much on your to-do list that you have to turn down chances for fun, it’s time to start saying no to the work and yes to the joy. Otherwise, get out of your own way — you are busy, sure, but the second you let yourself be defined by it, I think you’ve let the myth become your reality. Get your work done, find ways to make it easier and more efficient and then go live life.