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There’s No Glory in Busy

By Doris Deits

There is a new catch phrase on the scene:  Stop the Glorification of Busy! It is the subject of articles, blog posts and Facebook chatter. In America, where we have perfected the art of perpetual and constant busyness, it looks like more and more of us have had our fill. While this isn’t a new concept by any means, it’s a topic that is gaining popularity.

When I Googled this phrase, I found an abundance of people’s comments, thoughts and articles on Facebook pages and blog posts discussing various viewpoints in regard to the phrase ‘stop the glorification of busy.’ I also found magnets, mugs, t-shirts and tons of images all over the internet with this phrase. Something is definitely happening.

It didn’t take long to see that a book written by Ariana Huffington was a motivating factor for people’s attention on this subject. The book is titled Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom and Wonder.  A colleague of the author, Guy Kawaski, created a slideshow of ten tips from Ariana’s book on http://www.slideshow.net. He titled his blog post ‘Let’s Stop the Glorification of Busy.’

The first tip from the book is this:  Redefine Success. Each of us has our own take on what success looks like. Because it can mean different things to different people, it created a lot of interesting discussion.

The common thread throughout much of what I read came down to the understanding that most people have a core belief that ‘busy’ is a good thing and ‘not busy’ is a bad thing. I believe that our society, through advertising and media, does indeed project the idea that successful people are busy people who are always on the move. If you want to be one of them, you better get busy.

We all want to be successful, right? Work, family, kids, sports, school, it’s all good. If busy means success, we can logically make the connection that the busier we are the more successful we will be. Unfortunately, the opposite is usually true. Overextending ourselves often leads to a loss of productivity. As a nation we are working more and producing less.

Looking back at my life I can definitely own up to the fact that I often paraded my busyness (via complaints) to anyone within ear range to show how important I was. Everyone and everything is vying for my attention because yes, I am that fabulous! The world would certainly fall apart without my furious efforts. How embarrassing. I think that I was going for the idea that if I worked hard enough success would be inevitable.

From the data on the internet, its clear people are waking up to the fact that this behavior of being busy all the time doesn’t serve them in a positive way. People are realizing it’s not improving their lives. Being a slave to our jobs takes us away from our families. Having our attention consumed by technology drains our vitality. Scheduling every hour of the day is exhausting.

On one Facebook page, a woman had listed antonyms for the word ‘busy.’ These antonyms included words like idle, lazy, unemployed, unbusy, etc. and she posed the question of why anyone would want to be associated with those words. I agreed. But I love a good nap and staring out the window for an hour is a favorite past time, though I don’t usually tell anyone.

People and families will always be busy because life is filled with activity. But balance is necessary for all of us, too. Letting ourselves have time to do nothing is not a character flaw, but a necessary reprieve. Who knows, maybe quiet time will get higher ratings as more people ban together and say ‘enough with the busy!’

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