In the quest for a better life, people hustle every day. It appears to be a virtue and a reason to rejoice for you to be busy throughout your life. Busyness has become the norm to the extent that we think it is mandatory to be engaged in some kind of activity all the time. But is that really true?
Understandably, in a world where economic conditions do not favour the majority, those who idle around or want to live on the generosity of others or the state are frowned upon. You and I know people who have two or three jobs. Such individuals sleep for a few hours as they try to get as much money as possible to make ends meet. But is that the ideal life?
I want to suggest that none of us likes being so busy that we fail to enjoy even the money we work so hard to earn. Busyness is not what many of us want to portray it to be – a virtue and something to be proud about. We do it out of necessity.
Reversing the ‘Busyness’ Trend
Did you know it is possible to earn a living, start living and still avoid glorifying busyness? Here’s how:
Living in the Present
Being busy does not negate the fact that you have a real life that encompasses family, friends, interaction, pastimes and challenges. Your family, friends and community need you and you need them equally. Life is not all about working ceaselessly. You must create time for people and institutions that encourage and motivate you through your daily struggles and challenges.
Living in the presence means that you recognise the roles other people play in your life. It implies reaching out to your children, partner and other relatives in mutual support. It means participating in the life of your community and reaching out to the less fortunate. None of these ideals can be achieved when you are engaged in endless activity.
I once heard that women are better at multitasking than men. I used to consider multitasking a virtue – not any more. You and I know mothers who spend time on social media when they return home after a busy day. This despite the fact that the parent has been away at work most of the day; the kids were in school, and the only time they have to interact is spent by the parent surfing the internet.
Next time you go to a restaurant, take time to observe what people on the same table, who came together to socialize, are doing. More time is spent looking one’s phone as opposed to talking with each other. Multitasking is a form of busyness and it is killing relationships at a very high rate. Why not set the phone aside and look at your partner as you engage in productive communication?
Me and my friends have set up kind of a rule, we don’t put our mobile phones on the table when having breakfast, lunch or dinners together. Only if there is something urgent and we expect an important call. It is really important that we spend a good time together and connect with each other!
Remember to Attend to Yourself
Being busy most of the time robs you of the most important person – yourself. I really don’t know what exactly people mean when they tell one another to take care. Is it about security or body hygiene? What is clear, though, is that unless you attend to yourself you will soon lose the steam and health to be busy.
Those who own cars understand the importance of fueling and regular service. Why then do we forget to take care of the very body, mind and soul that make our busyness possible? Take time off and spend it with yourself, you will discover so much. Pamper the body by eating a balanced diet and exercising. Look for the best lotions and perfumes to moisten your skin. Never forget to meditate and connect spiritually with the Supreme Being and your fellow beings.
At the risk of appearing to be delivering an academic lecture, allow me to remind you that you are not everything in this world. Your company needs you but you are not indispensable. The institution you work for was there before you and will continue to operate the day after you are laid to rest at the cemetery. In essence, life can and will go on without you. Your busyness will not save you from the fact that time a time will come when you will have to exit.
Learn to share out tasks instead of attempting to do everything yourself. There are many other employees working under you or with you who have the same or similar responsibilities. Younger workers also need to learn how to perform the tasks you are carrying out. Hallo? There is something called succession management! Even in your own business, your children need to learn so that they can take over when you are too old to work or when your turn comes to join your ancestors in the next world.
Before you become a workaholic with no social life, remember the following:
- You cannot carry the entire world on your shoulder. Busyness will not help you to solve all the problems of an organisation or family.
- Your body has a limit. It cannot work forever and regular periods of rest are necessary for you to operate maximally the following day.
- You are a social animal. You need others and they need you. Being busy is akin to severing a limb from your body.
- Busyness exhausts your body and the more you work in this state, the less productive you become.
- Your life is more important than material belongings. What you need is a sense of belonging to a family or community. Busyness is vanity.
- When your history is written, you will be remembered for what you did to change peoples’ lives and not how much money you earned.
- You are part of a community. You are either an asset or a liability. The best way to become an asset is to participate in communal events.
- Stop glorifying busyness. Don’t talk about being busy as if it is winning a billion dollar lottery.
- Develop a program for your life and determine to have more time for yourself, your family and the community.
- Remember you only live once and there will be no rehearsal. Don’t wait for the time you will be less busy to take care of other important matters because that time will never come.
I did struggle with being very busy especially when I just started my business 10 years ago. I was and still am very ambitious, but I forgot and didn’t know about how to take care of my body, spirit and mind at the time. But after a while, when loosing the control, social life and not paying attention to my family, thanks god I have reacted and started looking for how to balance it all. Today I must say meditation and taking time off for myself and with friends/family is great benefit for me and everyone who is around myself to! I can proudly say that!
Your Grace Guru