Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day 29 - The Glorification of Busy

Being busy has become a status symbol these days.  People wear it as a badge of honour.  "Oh I'm sooo busy" is a measure of how worthy you are, how successful your life is.

When I say that S comes back home early from work, and we play badminton, and he plays with Puttachi, brushes her teeth and puts her to bed - I am doing the poor man an injustice.  I should say, "Oh, he gets back early, but then he has call after call - he is busy the whole evening and into the night - even his weekends are full."  That is the measure of true success, you see.

But why?

This article resonated with me - The Busy Trap.

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.
I could see why people enjoy this complaint (that I'm too busy); it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon.

In a conversation with my aunt recently, she said, "People think that being busy is an aim in itself, but I thought that the point was to be busy enough to earn a living in as little time as possible, and then spend the remaining time in creativity and self-improvement, and enjoy life."

*Cue - Bow deeply thrice in said aunt's direction.*

I couldn't have said it better.

I'm not saying that one shouldn't be busy.  Life is short, after all, and there are so many things to do - so fill it up by all means - but why has busyness become so exalted?  I get many compliments about how I "keep myself busy."  Questions are also framed that way, when people realize that I don't go out to work - "So how do you keep yourself busy all day?"   Why should I keep myself busy?  Why should not being busy make one a less important person?  What if I choose to fill my days pottering about  my house doing nothing, and totally enjoying it?

Let's stop glorifying the business of busyness!


Anonymous said...

Busy is just relative.

Being busy could mean ,"Busy being creative, improving oneself and enjoying life". For some people earning their living includes being busily creative, improving self and enjoying life. :-)

Why should one be/feel busy at all? Agree with you one hundred percent there.

Either way, no value attached. Not a brownie point contest. Everyone has 24 hours a day and few choices to spend those.

Again an interesting write up, Shruthi. Thank you.

J. Atte

Anonymous said...

i so wish there was a like button on your articles....

- from an ardent reader of ur blog


praneshachar said...

I respect and bow to your aunt's words yes we must do justice to the life we life there are many other things you can do. But again it requires resources all the things can not be done without vitamin M so people work not only for living for achieving so many other goals in life. But if you do it at the cost of your family life no spending precious times with your offspring they what you have lost is much more than what you have earned. just balance work life then you are done. But how many can do this really. people go behind careers positions money so on and on so take out your time from your so called B U S Y Busy and become a bee so disburse sweet to all particularly the family friends its life These are my thoughts on this how many takers??? let me see

Anonymous said...

true... busy has been an overrated but commonly used excuse..

JayEnAar said...

I confess to getting restless if there isn't something to keep me busy - er.. occupied, I should have said. I m sad to say that for as long as I can remember I've never been more than a day without a list of things to do. There's a white board behind me, notes on my desk, a to-do list on my smartphone and tablet. But I don't consider myself busy in the sense of harried or rushed. I don't like the feeling that I haven't done something I should have done.

Maybe I'm a sad fellow. But I take consolation from the adage: 'if you want something done ask a busy man.'

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