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No, Being ‘Busy’ Is Not A Badge Of Honor

by Shane Mehling
money & life

too busy to be creative

Maybe it’s always been like this, but the advent of social media has allowed everyone, everywhere, to talk about how busy they are in a much more visible forum.

It seems like we all have a million projects on our plates, that we’re drowning in obligations, and that we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’re anything like my former self, you may also be one of those people taking a quick five-minute break right now before diving back into the abyss of urgent priorities and important to-do’s that demand your immediate attention. We’ll get into why that practice is actually taking a massively negative toll on your productivity soon.

So, in the five minutes we have here, try and answer this one simple question: Are you really, honestly that busy?

Now sure, maybe you have been saddled with so much work recently that you are feeling the walls closing in on you; you’re sweating, can’t sleep and get irritable when you see people talking about the vacation they’re about to go on.

But for the most part, for about 95% of everyone in the world (probably including yourself), we use this facade of busyness as an excuse to get out of pretty much any commitment that’s no longer convenient.

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Whether you want to skip out on dinner plans, miss your trip to the gym or fish for sympathy on Facebook, telling people that we’re endlessly busy seems to take precedence over actually doing anything.

But when it really takes a negative toll, is when “being too busy” becomes the default answer as to why you’re not pursuing your creative projects. You know, those ones that you swear would be so fulfilling and you have it all inside your head and all you need to do is find time but things keep popping up, and so on and so forth.

It may sound like a complaint when someone expounds to you about being busy, but it’s actually making them feel much better about themselves. If they can convince you that they’re too busy to take part in something, then they can keep convincing themselves that they’re too busy to do it.

Being too busy becomes a warm blanket of hard work that allows them to feel okay about ignoring people and projects, even though they are magically caught up with Game of Thrones and posted a selfie from their weekend camping trip.

Busy people also need rest and little vacations and that doesn’t mean everyone who takes time to relax and turn their brain off occasionally are actually lazy liars. But realistically, most people have about 40 hours of free time a week.

Maybe you are one of the outliers, but even if that is true, and you’re actually so busy that you can’t pursue the things in life that would make you happy, then it’s time to figure out how to change that.

My challenge to you: Take five minutes to objectively ask yourself why you’re feeling so busy. Which commitments do you have, that could be loosened? Are there easily identifiable inefficiencies in the way you’re currently working? Are your priorities misaligned with your true, most meaningful goals?

Take the time to refocus on what’s really most important in your life.

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Shane Mehling

Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noiserock bands.