How often does this situation happen in your life? You’re catching up with a friend, coworker, or neighbor, when they ask, “How are you?” Your first and instant response? “Busy.”
The response is quick and automatic. And we rarely think anything of it. But what does it say that our first response is so frequently, “Busy!”? What does it mean that we don’t bat an eyelash when a friend hurriedly runs down their to-do list for the day, looking stressed and exhausted? What does it say that we typically do the things we have to get done, but rarely the things we want to get done?
Busyness has become a way of life for many of us. It’s become an accepted part of today’s culture. But it’s worth looking at. It’s worth taking an honest inventory of your life and your habits. It’s worth asking if this busyness is a coverup, a distraction, or a disguise for something else. Below are seven quotes about busyness, designed to make you think, reflect, and get serious about how you spend your time.
1. “It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau
2. “Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.” -Brenè Brown
3. “We have become a nation of thoughtless rushers, intent on doing before thinking, and hoping what we do magically works out. If it doesn’t, we rush to do something else, something also not well thought-out, and then hope for more magic.” -Len Holman
4. “For the overachievers out there today: Your mantra is likely, “What else can I do today?” Consider replacing that for a week with, ‘What can I do less of today?” and see what happens.” -Tad Hargrave
5. “Inevitably we find ourselves tackling too many things at the same time, spreading our focus so thin that nothing gets the attention it deserves. This is commonly referred to as “being busy.” Being busy, however, is not the same thing as being productive.” -Ryder Carroll
6. “Simple truth: fast and busy are a choice. We choose to go fast and be busy because we think it’ll get us what we want. All too often, it doesn’t. Fast and busy makes life brittle. It makes us feel like every inch of space in life is locked in and there’s no room to move. Instead of unlocking productivity and potential, it throttles both. It deludes us into feeling like we’re getting more done faster, but in reality, we could get the same done in the same or less time with more grace by dialing it back, not forward. In the end, we’re left feeling dissatisfied and helpless to extract ourselves from the process. Except we’re not. It’s all an illusion.” -Jonathan Fields
7. “When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” -Jack Kornfield
If these quotes about busyness strike a nerve, if they have you thinking…good. Awareness is the first step toward change. It helps to realize the way your habits are hurting you and getting in the way of the life you truly want. But now the hard part. Changing. Doing something different. Looking for an easy place to start? Check out this video on the simple phrase to help you stop overcommitting.
Remember, busyness isn’t a badge. It doesn’t have to be your way of life. You can choose something different. You can create a different life. In fact, you absolutely deserve it.
PS: Tired of answering, “Busy!” when someone asks how you’ve been. Try this instead. It’s amazing the difference it makes.