An Accomplished Life
“Hi Tom, how are you?”
“I’m well Jane, just extremely busy.”
“Oh, I’m glad to hear you’re keeping busy then.”
“Yes, I’m flat out at the moment.”
The above interaction is one that takes place between people on a daily basis.
But what is behind the busyness?
Is it a way to deflect attention from what really matters?
People brag about their busy lives to highlight themselves living an accomplished life to their peers.
Similarly, they may wish to communicate how meaningful their work is and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Being occupied implies oneself is consumed with matters of significance. That is why people state their busyness, to have you know they are important.
Busy people struggle to keep their attention in the present moment because their focus lies in future events and planning for the next project.
“We become active and busy, but this doesn’t actually move us any closer to success. Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business,” states authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
I question those who have a hectic schedule as a method to divert their attention from connecting with their core self.
The title quote by the Greek philosopher Socrates, invites you to be wary of a busy life which can be barren.
The busy person is disconnected from others, simply because their attention is focussed on their own commitments. There is the impression of a purposeless life, masked behind the facade of a frantic lifestyle.
Busyness can be reframed to imply your pursuits are purposeful instead of busy.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan affirm, “Don’t focus on being busy; focus on being productive. Allow what matters most to drive your day.”
Busy or Just Unproductive?
You can be busy but not productive and still chase your tail.
Beneath the busyness lies the unconscious desire to be rewarded for hard work.
People believe being preoccupied is impressive and associated with status. You must be pursuing something prestigious, otherwise you wouldn’t be busy.
I’m reminded of an episode in the Seinfeld sitcom where the character George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, walks around the office looking annoyed. He realises that being busy is associated with stress and works hard to uphold this facade.
He appears irritated, causing his supervisor; Mr. Wilhelm to fear George is cracking under the pressure of his work.
While this scenario is fictional, it shows how people unconsciously use busyness to draw attention to themselves.
Similarly, you may believe multitasking is indicative of productivity. Busyness implies being on top of things which is often the furthest thing from the truth.
“Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil… It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time,” affirms associate editor at Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky.