WHY ARE WE ALWAYS BUSY!
Life has changed in so many ways in the last decade. We have evolved the way we do our everyday. Almost anything and everything you need can be purchased online. Phones and tablets are replacing computers and laptops. “Working out” is a cultural phenomenon. Children are replacing playing outside with xbox and wii. With all of this change comes the need to conform. Everyone is hooked onto their phones and tablets constantly checking social accounts, emails and apps. In a world where we have access to almost anything with our fingertips, it’s easy to stray from schedules and timelines.
It is common to legitimize avoidance with being “busy”. Let’s be honest, who isn’t busy these days? There have been instances where I am home all day and justified to myself that I am busy to excuse why I did not make it to the gym. The concept of “so much to do in so little time” is now like a societal mantra. And now being busy is often a way to validate our worth.
The moment we wake up many of us are inundated with the high expectations for work, family and friends. And since everything is just a tap away it is easy to become overwhelmed with the collective load. A typical day at my job is spent checking emails and meetings. Recently I became self-aware that there have been days when I haven’t even moved from my desk. There are days where my boss is in back to back meetings all day, and I have to camp outside her office to get a few minutes in between meetings for anything I need to discuss. Our bosses and managers relay messages that encourage us to “get shit done” but nothing to bring attention to a probable burnout and exhaustion that comes with it. The average human is not equipped to handle the constant bombardment of stress that our current culture encourages. When we cannot handle it we tend to breakdown with fear, anxiety and pressure.
There are a multitude of reasons why a person is busy. It can be difficult to decipher if the person is truly engaged in meaningful schedules from those who don’t realize they are using busy to compensate for other things. Whatever the reason is, busyness can consume you and lead to a path of exhaustion. I have come up with a list of 5 ways to rethink the way you spend your time.
Doing NOTHING is better than being BUSY doing NOTHING
We are raised in a time that busyness is the end-all-be-all, this is our environment and how we are asked to handle the day to day. In some rare instances people do practice what they preach and will evoke the importance of quality and time management. Constant stress is taxing on the mind and body, leading to our inability to think and process clearly. The overall outcome is less creativity and a mediocre mindset as a way to satisfy the means. When it is all laid out like this, it sounds appalling right? There are ways to get around this and free your mind. Make yourself aware of the full spectrum of what is going on. Organize your calendar and set time aside to wind down in the middle of a busy day. That could be taking a 15 minute walk around the building to get some fresh air. Categorize the significance of responsibilities to have a clear view of what needs the most attention. I like to use lists to help me stay on track. Try to keep a level head in the everyday and stick to a method that is suited for you.
Technological advances changes the way we communicate; Texting replaces calling, instant messaging at work, video chat replaces in person. At what point did the meaningful connection of a relationship diminish? Even though it is very intriguing to have everything in the power of your devices with a tap of the finger, it is also exhausting and draining. A lot of people take “breaks” from their social media, where they go on a few month hiatus of anything social just because it gets to be too much. Others find themselves wasting hours constantly scrolling and scrolling and nothing to show for it. At what point does technology completely overtake our lives? It is time to regroup and find the real meaning of connection and not mistake technology for fulfilling that need. The only way to get over this feeling is to make changes. Change the way you do your day to day. Maybe you don’t grab your phone the minute you wake up, maybe you call people more instead of texting, maybe you make more effort to meet up with friends than just post on social media. Get back the significant bond we once used to have and use technology as an enhancer and not the primary.
The act of being busy is a bit of a cliché as of late. We went from having no plans to not having a minute to spare. Even when we are home we are inundated with things to do. Is being busy the latest fad? Is it a subconscious excuse to make it seem like you don’t have any free time? Is it a way to define yourself? Have we taken on too much? Being busy is the most common excuse I have heard across the board in the last few years. Excuses aren’t always a bad thing, but in this case busyness trumps anything else. Stop using busyness as an excuse and the only way to do that is to break free of this habit. Find the real reason why you’re always busy and make a change. Don’t be busy to just be busy, find real meaningful ways to pass the time.
One of the key components to hard work is being productive in all aspects of the day to day. Productivity is the best way to define how to generate efficiencies, utilize processes and make more time. Having more time helps allow you to control busyness. But the question is, what are you going to do with the free time you found? Are you going to fill it with more projects and tasks? There is a constant pressure to keep producing however it is not accompanied by the gratification of productivity. In order to appreciate productivity, there needs to be a pause and appreciation of the changes implemented. The constant need to produce only exploits the reality of always maintaining a busy lifestyle. When a project is complete, just don’t throw yourself into yet another project, find some time to appreciate it while taking a moment to breathe.
Multitasking is a part of the norm these days. I don’t remember a day where I focused on one thing at a given time. Conference calls, answering emails and working on projects at the same time is my day to day. The only problem is the ability to perform multiple tasks at the same time just takes away from each task you are doing. Multitasking is great but it’s also limiting, if you’re participating in three tasks at once then you are only spending 33% of your time dedicated to each task.
We are all experts at multitasking; at least that is how we would handle that question in an interview. However what we don’t always remember is that multitasking sacrifices quality. Solve this by being organized and making projects that need more attention a priority. It’s more important to get the work done in a more meaningful way to produce the best results.