In the 21st century we are in an era where we are most time affluent (time rich) however we feel busy all the time. We have technology and services that have drastically reduced our “life admin” as I like to call it and have paved the way for us to have more time for the activities we perceive to gain meaning from. Even our working hours have steadily over time reduced to what it is now and is predicted to continue to reduce, so where does this notion of busy’ness come from?
In the year that was 2018, I noted a few key themes of busy’ness that I wanted to share, most of them sadly I had experienced throughout the year:
Being busy as a sign of importance or status:
This year more than most, I had started to notice the word “busy” being thrown around like a trendy status symbol. It seems that being busy has become a badge of honour for individuals to wear and use, simply because people assign importance to busy’ness. We exist in a world where the most well off are seen to be busy therefore we naturally associate busy’ness with importance.
Busy’ness as a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO):
This was a big one for me as I have a mile-long list of books to read, movies to watch, places to see and things to do. We live in an infinite and abundant age and this overwhelms us as we attempt to reduce missing out on things we perceive as important. And if you are anything like me, whenever I have some free time available, I become extremely anxious as I fear using my time ineffectively and missing out on what I could be doing.
Busy’ness due to blurred lines:
This is all too common today – The Era of Digital Nomad I saw one article call it, blurring the lines between work and home and giving us the sense of being switched on all the time, creating that sense of constant busy’ness. Always having to check emails, notifications and forcing us to stay connected.
Increasing busy’ness to increase productivity and efficiency:
I saw this quote once by Denzel Washington that goes like this, which I feel sums this point up nicely.
“Just because you’re doing a lot more, does not mean you are getting a lot more done. Do not confuse movement for progress”
We assign importance and success on the measure of how long or how much we do a certain thing and fail to realise that success of something should be results driven.
John Hopkins once wrote:
“When we’re time affluent, it allows us to pursue values and activities like personal growth, personal connections, and our relationship to our broader community. These values, in turn, do a good job of satisfying our psychological needs and promoting higher levels of well-being.”
Looking critically at my own situation I realised that I had fell victim to these themes and had seen many people go a similar way. Pushing ourselves into busy’ness to feel productive while procrastinating. So, in 2019 I am going to try and re-frame the ‘being busy’ myth and make time for the things that are important.