This week’s blog topic simply landed in my lap thanks to my youngest son. This morning’s before-school tirade went something like this: “I hate school, it’s boring. I hate whoever invented it and whoever makes us go. I wish I could stay home like you do.” When I asked him what he thinks I do all day he said, “well you work, but you’re not busy like Daddy”. When I asked him why that was important he said, “well, Daddy travels a lot and you just work in town, so you don’t have as much to do”.
Hmmm… It seems the misconception of busyness as a measure of worthiness and importance starts pretty young!
A deep breath whilst keeping cool about my ex, then I kindly explained that busyness is not really a way to compare how important people are or a good measure of their success (because I’m all about thriving v success anyway!) and then smiled sweetly as he stomped out the door to go to school, pout still perfectly intact.
But it got me thinking about the way we often measure success and worthiness by how busy we are and how others can often label us by the same means, and this quote from Jennifer Pastiloff really struck home:
“Let’s stop the glorification of busy. We don’t need to use our busy-ness as a measure of worthiness.” ~ Jennifer Pastiloff
Now I know a few people who will always say “I’m so busy” when I ask them how they are doing. They run around all day and seem flustered by their never-ending demanding schedule, and yet that busyness is all of their own making. In fact they are so busy ‘doing’ that they don’t have time to just ‘be’ – and it is rubbing off on their kids too.
How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings? Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us? ~ Omid Safi, The Disease of Being Busy
In his post, The Disease of Being Busy, Omid goes on to say that we lose so much when we hide behind our busyness – our relationships and our sense of community suffers. We should have more time now to devote to leisure time and yet we seem to be busier than ever. We never switch off and we feel that we are only worthy by filling every hour of every day with something.
How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be? ~ Omid Safi
This year I am focusing on getting the balance between doing and being right and already feel much happier for it – and it’s only March!
So, how do I do it?
First of all I see all of my varied roles as important. Not ranking one above any other allows me to successfully juggle my day no matter what gets thrown at me. When my kids are at school I concentrate on my businesses; when they are at home I concentrate on them and their activities; when they are with their dad I concentrate on myself. It often looks a little more complicated than this, but I’m getting pretty good at switching from one role to another without the need to over-analyse what I’ve achieved.
Second, I choose 3 things that I will achieve each day for my businesses. Not three things per business, but three things in total. That could be to launch a website, to create a cross stitch chart and to write a new blog post (including shameless plugs for other businesses here, but why not!). I have a working day of 5 hours max during the time my kids are at school so I make the most of it. Ticking three things off my list has made me far more productive than having a list of 25 items that seemingly never gets done.
Third, I ditch the guilt. I don’t measure myself on my busyness and know that with each day I am doing the very best that I can. I am kind to myself and make self-care just as much of a priority as caring for others. I can spend a whole day knitting, happy in the knowledge that it’s a huge part of who I am and it makes me really happy and relaxed.
I still have days or weeks when I am really busy and have a lot to get done, but it doesn’t define how worthy I feel or how successful I feel my life is. It is just a part of life. But when I don’t have to be busy, I embrace that time too and urge you to do the same…
These blog posts are great too: