22 Feb Is Busy Necessary? Part 1
We have the world at our fingertips. Thanks to our handy electronic devices, we have immediate access to an abundance of resources and information and can get so much more done in one day than ever before. Gone are the days of having to wait in long lines or parking lot traffic jams to get what we need. We can get a degree and maintain a full-time job all without leaving the convenience of home. Totally efficient, right? But I can also get lost in social media, scroll through endless pages of shopping websites, or obsessively check our inbox and not even realise how much time we waste.
There are different reasons why people are busy, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who is legitimately engaged in meaningful pursuits from those who use busyness to compensate for anxiety or fear. Perhaps it’s fear of not being enough, or missing out, or facing challenges. Whatever the reason, if left unchecked, busyness may be a straight path to exhaustion, anxiety and fear that you may be trying to avoid.
Busyness kills creativity.
Unless you’re a 7-year-old child, the words “I’m bored” probably rarely enters your mind. From the moment we wake up, most of us are inundated with demands and expectations from work, family, and friends. And because we have immediate access to things and each other, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and feel like everything has to be done last week. If we’re not careful, half the day can be spent responding to emails and the other half can be spent in meaning well but energy draining jobs we find mundane. We are encouraged with go-get them and you-can-do-it messages that seem to do little to fix the burnout that will likely occur if we continue to feel the need to cram everything into our day. Our bodies simply have not been designed to handle the constant barrage of stress our culture promotes.
We all have a fight or flight mechanism that helps us to respond most efficiently when faced with danger or highly stressful situations. When we perceive a threat, our executive system shuts down and we run high on autopilot. That means whatever we’re inclined to do, fight or flight, this is the body’s way of preserving energy so that we can survive. It’s fine when it occurs in spurts, however, when we are perpetually stressed, it’s taxing on our bodies and reduces our ability to think clearly, and make decisions. Consequently, we are less creative and more inclined to resort to mediocrity as a way to cope. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But one way to avoid this is to filter information and shut ourselves off from time to time so that we can focus our attention on what really matters to us. We can then prioritise what is important, and change our behaviours to reflect those priorities.