We live in a fast forward world, always hit with information, notifications, shares, tweets, stories, so, really, being focused has become a challenge. More so, our need to thrive and succeed led to overtime, multi tasking and the inability to refuse projects on the basis because the opportunity may never present itself again or that keeping busy, being involved and doing things is actually a sign of success, rather that an overwhelming status of feeling accomplished with one self.
Being busy has rather become a lifestyle choice, rather than an incidental overbooking of one’s time. We choose to do things because it gives us the false sense of pursuing a goal when it’s usually nothing but filling in the hours with projects that we can later brag about and add on our resumes as things that make us proud to be working.
On the other hand, there is the false sense of being busy. The prolonged email, the 3 hour meeting with no resolutions, the strolling around the office talking to people about different tasks we are involved in. We need to keep busy and let other know what we are busy, otherwise what are we really doing?
It always make me think of the Seinfeld episode, where George always acted angry at work so that his superiors would be impressed and think that he cared. Or the advice I once got: walk around the office holding papers in your hands and people will always think you’re working.
So it isn’t about how we’re spending our time anymore, but about how others think we are spending our time, which seems to become more and more important as time goes by and the oversharing on social media platform becomes a daily routine. The busy are cherished as leisure time slowly becomes our enemy.
Harvard Business Rreview conducted a series of studies to find out how busyness is perceived by others. In more than one case it resulted that busy people (or people who seems busy by their appearance, activities or lifestyle choices) are held to a higher standard. We, as a society, are glorifying a trade that actually makes us unhappy, without any potential of improving our lives.
Being busy or acting busy shouldn’t be impressive. Not taking care of yourself, not having time for you family or working weekends isn’t something we should aspire to, but something we should run from as fast as we can.
Busyness shouldn’t give a sense of accomplishment and be praised by others, it should raise the question of how it came to this. Not having time is the first signal that we are not using it wisely and time should not be something that we can easily take for granted. Being able to separate work from our personal life, striving to complete our tasks in time and managing our day so that we balance every chore on our to do list, that is something we should be proud of and a good example to follow.