The word “busy” has become loaded with meaning.  By saying that I am busy, I am usually not just making an observation about the way my time is used, I am also making a value judgment.  To be busy means we are important people – we are in demand:  skilled in the workplace and popular in social circles!  We act a bit Hollywood about it too, delivering the reality of our busyness with a heavy sigh, as if we are so put upon from being so in-demand! 

Saying we are “busy” is also a convenient response because this provides a grand excuse to cover a multitude of flaws and shortcomings.  Busy is the reason we do not exercise, colour the roots of our hair on time, dust our shelves, or finish our projects.   Of course, there are times when busyness is truly externally imposed – there will always be deadlines, doctor’s appointments, and unexpected interruptions. But much of our busyness is our own doing. 

Sometimes Smug Me scoffs at the busyness of friends and colleagues.  You think you’re busy!  I start comparing their busy to my busy, and suddenly I am in charge of Legitimate Uses of Time in everyone else’s life.  This is a terrible way to operate and it often leaves me feeling rather judgmental and irritated.  And then I realize:  Smug Me is the problem.  It is not a competition. 

Daily I am working to release myself from this entanglement.  If I am going to act all put upon and self-sacrificing about the pace of my life, I’ve got to be willing to give something up.  My interests are not a burden to me and, overall, I am content with the activities that absorb my time.

What matters here is watching my inner gauges.  I do not need others to tell me that an activity is worthy of my time.  I do not need others to affirm that I am worthy, period.  What is my motivation for the activities I undertake – joy, or other people’s approval? 

By Jeana Les

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