The Blame Game of “Busy” – And Why Busier Isn’t Always Better

Busy woman working on laptop

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One of the things I find most fascinating about being a woman is how there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day — enough hours to adequately take care of oneself or to check off the items on the never-ending list of things to do. I haven’t sat at my computer and written one word in three months. Three months. For me, that is bananas. Writing is my meditation, my joy, my therapy. So to not have had even 30 minutes to sit and jot some words down seems insane to me. Insane that I allowed my life to pile up on me in that way but also insane that that much time has gone by in what feels like a whirlwind of days, not months.

I read an article about the blame game of “busy” that talked about how so many of us use that card now to cancel plans. (I’m totally guilty of this.) And how telling people how “busy” we are has become a status card of sorts. How we’re a society of the busier we are, the more important one is and how it adds an air of superiority in social settings to essentially one-up other busy people by being even busier than they are. That article hit me like a ton of bricks because I was totally that person. I didn’t realize what I was doing. My heart was in the right place and, truth be told, it felt good to release some of the weight and stress of my full schedule with others.

But since reading that article, I’ve been given a new perspective and, in some ways, I now keep my lack of time suffering to myself, which I’m not 100 per cent  sure is better for me. So perhaps there is a happy medium to be met, where we can share with those we’re close with, who know our hearts and our characters and know that we’re not puffing ourselves up, where we can seek support, glean advice on how to un-busy our lives and just vent to when it all gets too crazy so we can not only cope better but actually live better. Because the reality is that life seems to be speeding by in the blink of an eye regardless of whether or not your day is jam-packed or not. And, my friends, time is the one thing we can’t recreate, that we cannot get back once it’s gone.

We want more time once we hear about a loved one being diagnosed with a terminal disease. We want more time when one of our children moves out. We want more time when our body goes into premature labour. Time is the one thing that doesn’t favour any socioeconomic background. It cares not about your gender, your race, your religion or your age. It cannot be bought and it cannot be manipulated. We all get the same 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour. None of us, not even Queen Bey, can change this. Where time is concerned, there are no favourites.

So what does one do if, like me, you still want to do and have it all? Still want to be a loving, attentive partner even while being a giving, involved parent to your children. And there’s finding the time to nurture the soul and your friendships, not to mention attending to a career or two or three — all of this in only 24 hours a day.

Well, for starters, you should not do as I do but do as I say on this one: if you’re an uber A type personality like moi, then you’re going to want to get way more sleep than I do so that you can operate on an elevated level, instead of dragging your ass around most days because you try to squeeze in that one extra task or five into your awake time!

You’re also going to probably want to devise a meal plan so you can make sure you’re eating well, getting your nourishment while you’re attempting to take over the world; unlike me, who tends to forget about eating until hunger is all-consuming, and the only thing available because you haven’t budgeted time to get to the market is ordering in. I have to say there are many things I do extremely well; but lately, if I’m being honest, it seems like I’m not stringing much of my important things that must get done together. I feel more scattered than I have been in so many years. I also, if I’m being brutally honest, feel like what I am doing isn’t being done to the best of my ability. Which bugs and frustrates me to no end.

When you realize that you’re burning your life candle at both ends and things are slipping through the cracks and your health is not where you need it to be nor is your productivity, what do you do? How do you recover yourself from the hamster treadmill that life can become if we’re not careful?

All too often, I end up here, drained, creatively empty and to make things worse, with a summer cold. Life catches up on me and then I have to stand still in the middle of my chaos and take stock and make a plan to come up out of it. Pull myself out of it before it’s September again, and another too short summer has come and gone.

This is where I’ve been lately, looking the storm in the eye and plotting my escape, which for me happens to be retreating from the busyness of what I’ve created, saying no to things that aren’t adding joy but only stress and reminding myself that every single email or text message doesn’t need to be answered within minutes of it being received and, in some cases, even a couple of days can pass before I get to it.

The cool thing that I’m learning is that (a) the world doesn’t stop turning if I don’t answer every single message within my idealistic time frame, and (b) I actually end up with a little bit of time throughout the day that allows me to do quiet reflection, meditation — and you know, bathe.