Does Being Busy Add to Your Life?

For some people, a busy schedule is essential.  Being busy makes them feel important.  It makes them feel needed because no one else can handle things that they need to do.  So they create detailed itineraries and constantly talk on the phone or check their cell phones for emails and text messages.  The problem is… busyness never ends.

Even when you don’t want to be a busy person, you have things to do.  We will always have to-do lists and projects to finish, emails to write, meals to prepare, and enough to keep our hamster wheel rolling.


So my question is:  Does being busy add to our lives?

A while back when Martin and I were preparing to return to Germany, I felt overwhelmed by lists and really started questioning why I had put some things on our list in the first place.  Which things were essential?  What really needed to be done?  Several of you left wonderful comments about how if projects are really important, they will be taken care of at some point.  Two notes have especially resonated in my mind:

  • Amber wrote:  “It often takes me far longer to finish things than I would like.  At this point, I’ve just accepted it. I have two very small children, life is hectic and chaotic and I don’t get a lot of time to myself. I can try to overcome it and go a little crazy, or I can accept it and remain sane. I’ve chosen sanity, and not being on top of things.”
  • Nicole said: “Permit change. If it looks like there is something you just CANNOT do or get to [on your to-do list], cross it off. Unless it is something vital, it’s stupid to just torture yourself by leaving it on there.”
  • Powerful words, aren’t they?  It’s important to feel at peace at the end of the day.  Being exhausted from busyness isn’t peaceful, just as Amber and Nicole have discovered.

    berlin museum

    And the funniest thing I’ve discovered about people who like to appear busy is that they spend hours setting up the appearance.  They might spend an hour each day rebuilding their schedules, assigning a time for every duty that needs to be done – right down to “Play with kids: 6:45 to 7:10″.  They might also hang onto unhealthy relationships that actually do damage to their worlds.  But it provides line items on schedules and phone conversations on the subway to fill up their days.

    We can control our schedules; it shouldn’t be the other way around.

    Over the summer, you may remember that I shared a monthly goal with all of you – things ranging from taking a picture each day to creating a better beauty routine.  This month, I would like to try creating more ideal days.

    I’d like to spend less time feeling like I have to multi-task… especially when some of those activities are just busy things I bring into my life (like free magazines at the grocery store checkout that only pile up in our house until I read them). I’d like to connect to the world and to people without being distracted. And those to-do lists?  Well maybe some of that stuff doesn’t really need to be on my list at all.

    I think it could be a lovely introduction into the Christmas season – seeing joy in all of the pieces of the day instead of feeling rushed and a need to add one more to-do.

    Would you care to join me?  Or do you have any thoughts on beating busyness?

    (Images from a visit to the museum this weekend)