A Friend Called Me “Busy.” Here’s How I Gave Myself a New, Freer, Narrative.

“You must be so busy.” said my friend. And for a moment, this shocked me.

We were meeting to go for a walk, and she’d found me dashing off one last text before getting out of the car. So maybe I had it coming. But that word “busy” really got under my skin.

What’s wrong with being busy?

Our culture glorifies busyness.  It’s a badge of honor when you have so much going on – or you are important enough – that everything you do bumps into something else. I remember at work nodding and saying, “yeah, it’s so busy now.” – even when it wasn’t! – as if to admit otherwise would be a loss of status.

In that moment in the car, I realized I didn’t want to be “busy.”

I try to be effective, purposeful, productive. Busyness is not that. Instead it feels aimless – movement without progress, activity without purpose. No breaks means no reflection, no preparation.

What if having a “busy schedule” was the starting point for a conversation, instead of an inevitable – and even desirable – state of being?

You could ask yourself:

• Have I said yes to too many requests?
• Is my day arranged in a way that allows me to do my best work?
• Am I able to show up to all of my commitments the way I want to be showing up? 

I’m using these questions to check in on my life. Some days, there’s not much give and take in the calendar and work is done at the last minute. Instead, I’d like more spaciousness. Not necessarily to do less, but to do all of it wholeheartedly.

I turned to my friend and smiled. “Yes,” I said. “I’m pretty full. Maybe overflowing this week. You?”


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