Monday, July 01, 2013

monday musings: on being busy

I've decided that 'being busy' has become an overused easy excuse not a genuine reason. Have you noticed? For so many people their reply when you ask "How are you?" is "I'm so busy". Or "sorry I haven't been in touch I've been so busy".

Sometimes this is hard to swallow when you consider the number of communication mediums available to us, that sometimes it can be days before we reply to family and friends or receive a response. Because we are 'busy'.

I read once in a buddhist book (sorry I'm vague on title details it was a long time ago) that to the Eastern way of thinking Western busyness = laziness. And I have to agree this makes sense to me.

Maintaining a daily spiritual practice (whatever that means to you) and regular meaningful connection with friends and family are just two important parts of life that can suffer: because we are 'busy'. Too busy to exercise, too busy to eat well, sleep well, love well, live well. Something is wrong with this picture wouldn't you agree?

Sometimes when I talk to my wonderful nan on the phone and say we will come and visit some time soon, in her gracious way she says "see how you go. I know you are busy". Nan says this, not because I have told her I am busy but because she likes to make life easy for everyone and would never want me to feel pressure to come and visit (not that I ever do in the slightest it is always such a joy to see her). I tell her "I'm never too busy for you".

I do prefer to say and think that life is full because that is the way it feels in the best possible way. To my mind being busy has a bit of a negative connotation in that there may be stress accompanying the busyness.

I looked up the definition of busy -
busy adjective. having a great deal to do verb keep occupied.

Yep that's pretty much everyone.

From here on out I am being mindful of the 'b' word, intending not to overuse it and definitely won't be relying on it to make things ok for not getting back to friends and family when they phone, text or email.

What are your thoughts on being busy? Am I over-reacting, are my expectations too high or does the busy phenomenon bug you too? Do you know anyone who is not busy?


  1. I do agree with you and I sometimes feel that for some people they like to use the word because if they aren't busy then their life mustn't have value. There seems to be a trend to always be busy, to fill all of your hours with things to do. I think it's up to us to decide how much to bring into our lives and to make the time to do things, being busy is often used as an excuse. xx

    1. It's true Catherine what you write that somehow being busy has become tied up with identity and sense of purpose/importance. Slowing down is indeed up to us, learning to say no and to prioritise in line with what we value. Thanks for leaving your comment x

  2. Most days I would agree with you completely, but today I am feeling tired and overwhelmed with "busy". I am sure though that tomorrow will be fine again and I promise to revisit this post again :-)

    1. :) thank you Cynthia for your honest words. When I am feeling tired and overwhelmed I feel better by going to bed really really early and knowing that 'this too shall pass'. Thanks for commenting x

  3. I love your simple shift in language that makes a big shift away from the negative. I've never liked being busy in the way that means I'm barely present in whatever I'm doing at the time before I rush off to do the next. I've always pushed against the ugly side of busyness. Life can be full "doing" very little in fact! Thanks for the reminder. x


Thanks for your comments. I read every one!

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