Let me begin with an admission of guilt. I am one of those people who has felt being busy was a badge of honor. It made me feel important to share with others how busy I was.
“Let’s see, I’m a really busy person. I can’t make it at 2:00 because I have another really important meeting. 3:00 doesn’t work either because I must take my daughter to swimming. How about tomorrow? It looks like I can fit you in at 6:30 - in the morning.”
It made me feel superior to know I was more involved than others.
“You know, I am on that committee, so I have some inside knowledge you aren’t aware of. What do you mean you aren’t serving on the Youth Committee at Church. Don’t you realize how important it is?”
What I was really saying was "I’m more important than you. My time is more valuable. My opinions should count more." These weren’t the messages I was intending to send, but they were the meanings that were received. Being busy does not mean what you are doing is more important than someone else. Being busy does not make you more valuable than someone else. I’m really not that arrogant of a person. So why was I feeling so busy all the time? The truth is, I was simply using “Busy” as an excuse to avoid and resist working toward the more important goals in my life. I was allowing the “busy” to be the important.
One of the ways I had learned about to deal with being busy was to do fewer things, but do them better. This is something I am now conscious of. I have weeded out a few things from my “busy” schedule, which has definitely helped. However, there are still some that I am not ready to give up on, that still compete for my time. I believe in making my school, my community, and the society in which I live a better place. It is important to me. I don’t want to be someone who sits on the sideline while others work to make things happen. I want to be there in the trenches. This is the reason why I participate in, and often lead, many committees, boards, councils, and other groups. I know being involved in many of these groups makes me busy and distract me from other important goals. However, having a singular, narrow minded focus on one goal is not what I want either. Simply eliminating all distractions that pull me away from some goals may cause me miss out on opportunities or other experiences that may be equally fulfilling - being present and soaking up the journey, not just the destination.
Being important to me, makes it important. Working towards goals I am passionate about, makes it important, not being busy. I want to stop being “busy” by focusing on two ways to rid myself of that “badge of honor.” The first is a mindset shift. Stop using the word "busy" to describe my life and actions. When someone says to me, "I can't believe how busy you are and how you are always on the go," I want my reply to be, "I am very passionate toward the things I care about and generously use my time for them." Secondly, play more. In his article, How to Turn Uninspiring Goals Into an Epic Adventure, Benjamin Hardy says, "The more your life pursuits can become a playful adventure, the more enjoyable - and likely more successful - they will be." Playing helps to reframe goals as quests and takes the emphasis off of "busy."
It is now time to stop writing and take my daughter to swimming. Important or Busy? I know the answer for me. What's the answer for you?