When asked “what’s going on?”, I think we’ve all said it: “Super busy.”
That response is usually seen as being a good thing, so we keep going back to it. Is that really the goal, though?
In Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, he has a variety of things to say about busyness. His main point:
What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?
And it’s not that being busy is necessarily a bad thing. He extends the thought by saying:
Being proud of being “busy” is stupid. Granted having a busy agency is much better than a slow one, but working all hours.
That’s where it gets tricky. If we’re just bored all of the time, that’s no good, but some time to let the mind wander can be beneficial. Did you ever come up with a great thought in the shower? A lack of other “stuff” can bring out great things. Another great line from Greg relates to employees, saying that “if his people are too busy to think, then they’re too busy, period“.
I’ve been working to intentionally develop thinking time into my day. Some days I can, some days I can’t, but it’s a goal each day. I roughly follow the idea of the EOS Clarity Break, but anything will work. Just disappear for a little while, remove notifications and distractions, and see what comes up.
Be Like Leo
Leonardo da Vinci followed this idea as well, saying:
Every now and then go away and have a little relaxation. To remain constantly at work will diminish your judgment. Go some distance away, because work will be in perspective and a lack of harmony is more readily seen.
He wasn’t a slacker. In fact, while da Vinci is known for his vast collection of artwork, he also made an incredible number of scientific discoveries. He attributed his ability to do that to keeping a clear mind.
It’s not even right to complain or whine to others about how busy you are. You and I have the same amount of time in a day as Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, Michael Jordan or anyone else who has achieved greatness.
Stay active and moving, for sure, but just make sure that being busy isn’t your goal.