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Busy, Busy, Busy: A Way of Life By Douglas Woods

Being busy has become a way of life for many of us. So much so that we begin to feel guilty if we find ourselves not being busy or we feel uncomfortable if we find we have nothing to keep ourselves busy. If we see someone who is not being busy then we think they may be lazy or unwell. If we are not busy, we try to think of ways to look busy!

In our work, in our office, in our home, we like to be busy. We may complain that we have not got a moment to ourselves and yet, when we find that time, we feel guilty and feel we should be doing something!

In our minds we seem to be confusing being busy with achieving. Our efforts to keep busy seem to be replacing our drive to be successful. Perhaps we feel that if we keep busy, at some point our efforts will magically bring success. Or perhaps we keep ourselves busy to take our minds off thinking about other things.

Yet, if you were to ask people what sort of life that would love to lead, how many would say they dreamt of a ‘busy’ life? Most of us would dream of a calm, peaceful and successful life, which is quite the opposite of a busy life.

Being busy is not a virtue, it is not a goal. Being busy is what happens when we find ourselves adrift from what really matters in our life. Being busy is what happens when we find ourselves working to the values and goals of others in our lives; our boss, our line manager, the company, even our parents, partners, children and, yes, even the other people living in our street.

Someone who looks busy may have the appearance of being successful, powerful, and influential but do they really feel that way? Usually not. Usually, the person feels flustered, annoyed, pressured and stressed. They feel as if they are not in control of their own time or their own lives and feel they are working to the demands of others.

Keeping busy takes people away from their own thoughts and visions. It takes them away from working toward their own success or their own purpose. Busy people have little time to consider ‘the big picture’, they are busy working on a little piece of a puzzle without knowing where or whether it fits.

People will say that they go to work and keep busy to earn money. This may sound fair enough but earning money is only a ‘reason’ for going to work. Having a ‘reason’ is not the same as having a ‘purpose’. How many people would say that their purpose in life is to earn money? You may need to earn money, maybe lots of money, to achieve your purpose or live the life you want for yourself and your family but earning the money is not the purpose of life.

Being busy has effects upon ourselves that we do not realise. We stop talking to people; I mean really talking to them. Sure, we may talk about whatever thing we are each busy doing but do we really talk about anything else? How many of these people do we really know? We may know a bit about the work they do but do we really know anything about them as people? Do they know anything about us? Being busy takes time away from other things and from other people. How many of us have heard our partner complain that they do not see enough of us? How many of us would like to spend more time with our children or more time for ourselves?

Being busy has effects upon our health, how many of us have felt stressed as a result of being too busy? How many of us know we are under strain but fear to slow down in case we are seen as lazy or not pulling our weight? How many of us can find the time to book that urgent doctor’s that we know we need but are just too busy to fit it in?

So, now, ask yourself these questions;

1) When I am being busy, whose purpose am I working for? Mine? My family’s? The company’s?

2) When I am not being busy, do I ever feel guilty, lazy or devious?

3) When I am being busy, how many people do I talk to? What do we talk about? Do I really know the people I talk to?

4) If I were not being so busy, what else could I be doing?

5) In the last week, how many successes have I had?

6) Could I become more successful without being so busy?

7) What benefits could it bring me and those close to me if I stopped being so busy?

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