Sunday, 22 July 2012

Are you busy?

The other day Sean Verret (adventure racer, organiser of FEAT Canada) wrote a post on his blog about busyness (being busy). He included links to some other posts on the web that came up when he did a search on busyness. I found many thoughtful comments in all (my mom wrote a blog on being busy back in March 2009).

I'll pulled out a couple of thoughts from these articles.

Do you like being busy?
In this post on the NY Times the author Tim Kreider writes, "Except that I hate actually being busy. Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve."

That's me. I don't like to always be busy, although I usually am. If I have a few hours of not being busy or constructive it is because I'm hiding from tasks that need to be done. I'm really good at entertaining myself and thus I have very little sitting-on-a-couch-doing-nothing time. As a result of a jam-packed 'To Do' list, even things that I want to do become busyness - more work than pleasure.

There's also something to be said for thinking. Just thinking. About things. When you're always busy you react more than plan or think. It's nice to think.

Drivers to busyness
Although this other post was of a religious nature and the linked table too reliant on higher powers to solve the busyness problems, the fundamentals spoke to me. I've cropped the table adjacent to what I think is relevant.

There are six foundational drivers that undergird our busyness.  Most people fall prey to one or more of these drivers:
  • You’re trying to prove yourself to others
  • You’re trying to meet other people’s expectations
  • You fear things will get out of control
  • You prefer the pressure
  • You need the money
  • You want to make the most out of life

And then there's this blogger, Kathy, who pinned the tail on the donkey when she wrote the following:
I find it somewhat amusing that so many people (myself included) complain about being so busy and stressed out, yet we’re the ones choosing to be busy and stressed out. After I said how excited I was about our holiday plans, and proceeded to schedule another dinner and New Year’s Eve plans, I took a step back and thought, What the heck am I doing here? I keep whining in self-pity about being “so tired” and “just exhausted” and wanting to do “nothing but lie on the couch all day” and then I go and MAKE MORE PLANS!
This is something that I’ve had to learn many times over the past couple of years (and am obviously still learning) – I don’t have to be productive to be a worthwhile person. The other thing I’m going to do is Stop Saying Yes. Yes, I’ve read this in a zillion self-help articles and magazines. But I never identified myself with “those people-pleasers who can never say no” because the things I was saying yes to were 1) good things 2) things I wanted to do and 3) things I was good at doing. Why would I say no to something that seemed so perfect for me?
I think this quote came from the same post:
While there are many things that need to be done, things I’m capable of doing and want to do, I am not always the one to do them.
I'm multi-talented and capable. That's fact. But being able to do something and wanting to do something are two completely different things.

I'm also trying to chill my Type-A personality to do things tomorrow and not today. I've got lists and lists of things that need to be done but they don't all have to be done right now. *deep breath*

Swimming and drinking wine all day - sign me up!
At lunch with family a few weekends ago we were talking about my aunt's friend who lives in Mykonos. So my dad says, "I wonder what he does there all day". My mom says, "Swimming and drinking wine". My dad responded something to the effect that swimming all day and drinking wine is essentially a waste of time.

Well, it is - and it isn't. Why should lives be career orientated, ladder climbing, mentally stimulating and totally 'productive'? Productive to whom? I'd love to spend my days guilt-free and worry-free. For now my interests are centered around running, aerial disciplines, crocheting, baking (I'm into home-made breads again) and growing a veggie garden and pretty flowers. Next year there will be other activities that I'd like to try my hand at. These tasks are fulfilling to me but probably not to someone else who may think that my time would be best spent cultivating a family and building an empire. We don't all want the same things.

Trading a party for people
My mom celebrates her 60th birthday on Tuesday. She initially was in the mood for a pa.r.t.y. but it means a lot of organising and arranging and on the night she'll hardly be able to chat to the people who are near and dear to her. Instead she has now decided to do a bunch of small dinners with family and friends over a few weeks to celebrate not only her birthday but the special people in her life that she appreciates.

I'm really making an effort to de-busy. I've got great ideas for events and activities to organise but instead of jumping into making them happen I've got them on a list so that I won't forget about these ideas but can revisit them at a later stage.

I've got some left-over fortune cookies (I wrote custom fortunes for them) from my Winter Metrogaine event and the one I munched during the week reaffirmed where my priorities should lie. It reads: "Any day that you are too busy to run is a day that you are too busy". 

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