The gist: The problem with the glorifying busyness is that it highlights being busy with the wrong things: work, self-optimization, etc. But just pulling back isn't necessarily the answer to that problem, changing our mindset is.
Lately I've been thinking about my...our...relationship with the word "busy."
There's been lots of talk about "the cult of busyness," and the glorification of busy.
And it's true.
Most people still "treat busy like a badge of honor."
A lot of that is because of Hustle Culture.
So when I got serious about this business and its goal of dismantling hustle culture, I also got rid of my emotional attachment to the word "busy."
At least, I thought I did. 😬
I'm starting to think that, like I do with so many things, I pendulum swung too far in the other direction.
Where I was still carrying a lot of mental and emotional baggage about being "busy."
Here's what happened and how I'm trying to reset my mindset:
Stage 1: Deciding to Break Up with "Busy"
During my 2017 self-care sabbatical and in the years after, I avoided being busy as hard as possible.
I worked as little as possible, socialized as little as possible, and took on as few commitments as possible.
My work was about 20 hours a week, my medical care took about 3 hours a week, and I never really had planned activities outside of that.
And I'm a gal who LOVES activities!
I have lots of interests, hobbies, and ideas, and I always have.
But during that time in my life, I told myself I couldn't do them.
And to be fair, it was kind of true.
Back then, I didn't have the energy to do MUCH other than work and self-care, but I resisted putting things on my calendar a LOT more than I probably needed to.
Stage 2: Fearing Busyness
I think it got to the point where I was afraid of being busy, even a little.
Even though adding another hour or two of activity would still give me plenty of time for other things in my day, and even though my health was noticeably better...
It was scary.
And I understand why...I was just coming to terms with my workaholism at the time.
I now knew what a slippery slope busyness was, and what the bad burnout at the bottom of said slope would feel like.
But as I settle into my new lifestyle more, and recover more from the state of health I was in back then, things have changed. Especially once I moved to California and my new routine gave me a whole new energy.
For awhile, though, I was scared to do anything with it.
Constant busyness clearly didn't work for me, but this constant "slow living" this didn't, either.
I was bored!
And not the good kind of boredom.
I wasn't having as much fun as I wanted and had the energy to.
Stage 3: Accepting Busyness as Neutral
Thanks to therapy and journaling, though, I've realized that my avoiding busyness was due to fear more than actually enjoying that new pace of living.
So now I've been working more and doing more...carefully...when I can.
Part of this includes retraining myself around how I see busyness.
Instead of it being a badge of honor OR as something to fear (I was going to say "like the plague" but then thought of this lol.)...
I'm working on busy being neutral.
On busy not being a good or bad thing...just a thing.
A thing that I am sometimes, but not all the time.
And that's fine, as long I'm not classifying the majority of my days or weeks that way, or busy more often than not.
Because I don't see the problem in having busy days when my energy allows it, as long as I'm still living with intention.
That ensures I'm busy with the RIGHT things.
Embracing busy as something neutral. ✌️
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Reminder: Busy is Just a Word
Busy is just a word.
Yes, we've glorified being busy.
But that doesn't mean that in all cases, being busy is bad and not being busy is good.
It's about being busy with the right things.
The problem with the glorifying busyness is that it highlights being busy with the wrong things: work, self-optimization, etc.
But just pulling back isn't necessarily the answer to that problem.
I think the better option is to look to replace the bad things with good.
I get bored easily. I do need to be pretty busy to be happy.
So instead of slow living, the best way for me to escape hustle culture is for me to change what I'm busy with. Instead of work, I want to be busy with hobbies. With learning. With talking to friends.
Because I do want a full life.
I just want it to be full of the right stuff.