When I read this quote a while back, it implanted itself in my mind and I've come to recognize that there's something deeper here. Busy has a positive connotation in our culture. If someone is busy, they must be in high demand, important -- wanted.
I think if we question what we have on our plates, most of us would find that we have unnecessary tasks on our to-do list. I know that I do. This got me thinking about what impact being busy has on our lives. The key areas for me:
Friendships: On more than a few occasions I've said to a friend, "Sorry I haven't called. I've been so busy!" as if that lets me off of the hook. In all honesty, I think there's a subconscious part of me that equates being busy with being successful. I've always cared a little too much about what others think of me, old friends especially.
Family: I know that when I'm overwhelmed it's my family that feels the brunt of it. Particularly, my mom and Jake. I tend to lash out at the people I feel safest with. They're the ones that I know will love me through it. I'm making an effort to get better at this. Besides adjusting my attitude, I have to recognize that there are unnecessary stressors in my life. It is irresponsible to take on more than we are meant to handle. Furthermore, It's hard to have real and intimate moments with the people that you love when you're always thinking about the next place that you have to be.
Personal growth: I think keeping busy bars me from taking an honest look at my life and the person that I am. I'm most introspective when I am alone and things are quiet. When I'm rushing from point A to B, there's not much time to sit with my thoughts. I think that's one of the reasons that I am drawn to writing/blogging -- it forces me to take time to sit and reflect. I've found that writing helps me to be more intentional with the way that I live.
Time is not a renewable resource, we only have so much of it. I'm challenging myself to be more selective about the things that I sign up for or the events that I have to be at.
Rather than rush from place-to-place and task-to-task I want to make a phone call to someone important to me, spend quality one-on-one time with my husband, or even (gasp) have some quiet time alone.
Do you look at being busy as a positive? Are you able to say no to unnecessary tasks?
I'd love to hear more about how you find balance.