If you’re on social media, by now you’ve come across the perpetually busy, #grinding, #werkin’ folks who never seem to sleep because they’re always on Twitter talking about how much work their putting in on their (obviously) amazing lives.
And I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but it seems like if you aren’t “grinding,” “putting in work,” or “beasting out” something, then you’re a slacker and your life is basically worthless.
There’s only one problem: being busy for the sake of being busy sucks. Like, totally.
I should know. I’ve mastered the art of looking and tweeting busy. I’ve sent those random 4am missives when I’m up and “grinding” (uh, because I’ve been procrastinating) and folks come out of the woodwork to congratulate me on my work ethic and commitment to the hustle.
But here’s the thing. I HATE being busy.
Don’t get me wrong. While I love (and appreciate) the money I get when I’m in demand, the actual feeling of having a million (or even 5) different things on my plate at once makes me feel antsy. It makes me feel overwhelmed. And it makes me feel like all I really want to do is take a nap (or vacuum the floor–true story!).
In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Greg McKeown explored why we humblebrag about being busy.
This bubble is being enabled by an unholy alliance between three powerful trends: smart phones, social media, and extreme consumerism. The result is not just information overload, but opinion overload. We are more aware than at any time in history of what everyone else is doing and, therefore, what we “should” be doing. In the process, we have been sold a bill of goods: that success means being supermen and superwomen who can get it all done. Of course, we back-door-brag about being busy: it’s code for being successful and important.
Not only are we addicted to the drug of more, we are pushers too. In the race to get our children into “a good college” we have added absurd amounts of homework, sports, clubs, dance performances and ad infinitum extracurricular activities. And with them, busyness, sleep deprivation and stress.
Across the board, our answer to the problem of more is always more. We need more technology to help us create more technologies. We need to outsource more things to more people to free up own our time to do yet even more.
OMG, didn’t McKeown just preach a word?!
Being plugged in 24/7 makes me feel at once like I’m doing too much (or at least that’s what Le Kid says because I’m always on my laptop) and like I’m not doing enough.
When I’m confronted with multiple deadlines I feel hella pressed and put upon, but when I’m not, I feel like I should be working to land another article, procure another freelance contract, write another book, or come up with another idea. It’s a vicious cycle and it has to end.
I’ve been slowly taking steps to unplug and let go of my need to, ehem, appear busy, but I’ll admit, the force is strong. However, I need to put some boundaries in place so I don’t burn out and end up going crazy on some poor woman in the drive-thru.
So here’s what I’m going to do…
Put my laptop down: It’ll be hard, but if I close my laptop I’ll have a fighting chance to take back some control of my time. If I’m not working (or…live tweeting a show), I don’t need to be on it.
Give Le Kid my full attention: Because I work from home, a lot of my mom guilt stems from not paying my child enough attention. I find myself listening to him while my eyes are glued to my laptop screen, and constantly telling him, “I’ll be there in a minute!” when he needs my help. No bueno. I don’t want him growing up to hate me, so I’m going to rectify the situation STAT.
Get outside & move something: This right here is one of my biggest struggles. I take Le Kid to the park several times a week, but while he’s running and playing I’m usually chilling on a bench…on my phone. UGH! This has to change. The next time we go I’m going to flip the switch. As he’s out there being a carefree kiddo, I’ll be walking around the park’s little track, burning a few calories. Getting in shape has always been a struggle for me, but I’m aiming to change it–on step at a time.