Battling Busyness

Chances are, if you were to stop the next person you see and ask how they’re doing, they’d say, “I’m busy.”

Many of us are working just to pay our mountains of bills and loans that weigh heavily over us like the blade of the guillotine, ready to fall at any moment. We long for the laid-back college days in which we could build our own schedule and grab lunch with a friend at a moment’s notice. Instead, we are working 40-hour weeks and having to plan social engagements three weeks in advance to accommodate everyone’s hectic schedule. And everyone, I mean everyone, is busy.

We are caught up working more than we want (often at jobs we don’t like) to pay for things we don’t need to impress people who don’t really care, because they themselves are focused on their own busyness. It’s as if we’re all competing to see who can be the busiest, but nobody really wins that contest.

So how do we combat this? We act more intentionally. We make time for people and activities that mean the most to us. Yes, this will inevitably mean letting go of other people and things that we would like to keep, but we need to come to terms with the fact that there’s just not room for it all.

Who and what mean the most to you? Your friends? Your family? Your job? Your pets? Hobbies? Do you spend most of your time with the people who mean the most to you, doing the things that you care the most about? If someone else had to guess what your priorities were, would they be able to get it right?

We need to prioritize the most important things and people, giving them the bulk of our time and attention. We certainly can keep in touch with other people and dabble in other things, but as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

What are we missing out on in all of this busyness? I know that I have missed out on opportunities to build stronger friendships by choosing to work on homework or personal projects when I could have otherwise been spending time with people. When we’re frantically running from one thing to the next, we miss out on peace. We miss out on the chance to slow down and appreciate the short life we’ve been given. We forfeit time with our families in order to get a bigger paycheck; we sacrifice hobbies, travel, and fun for just a few more hours logged at our desks or with our noses buried in our phones.

Imagine with me for a moment that we stopped glorifying busyness. We chose, as a society, to not equate being busy with having a full, successful life. We saw busyness as a trap, a sickness, and instead chose to devote more of our time to fewer, more meaningful things, taking life at a slower pace.

What would happen? I think we would all be more relaxed, more joyful, more compelled to spend time with people we care about instead of working jobs we resent for tearing us away from our loved ones. We would be less stressed, spend less time comparing ourselves to others, and enjoy the lives we’ve been given.

What do you say? How about we battle busyness together?

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