Oh, the word “busy”. We’ve come to idealize the word, as though it only has positive connotations. In our very North American minds, being “busy” means that you are important. The truth is, when you work a full-time job, you are likely to be busy to some degree. Your weekends may not be jam-packed with activities, but it’s easy to reach “too busy for fun, or friends, or anyone” territory. It’s a dangerous path to follow. Here’s why:
1. You never recharge.
It’s very easy to get burned out by being “too busy”. I have experience with this. As someone who grew up with a strong work ethic, and a slightly (and by that, I mean definitely) type A personality, doing “nothing” was rare for me. My mom always assumed that I was in my room, wasting time. Most of the time, I was writing, coding, teaching myself how to play the piano, or just doing something. Even while watching TV, me and my sister would do pilates. It became the norm for us, to constantly be doing something. As goes with anyone who’s even slightly ambitious, it got harder to fall asleep at night.
You have less time to recharge. Our minds, bodies, and souls need time for leisure. When you’re constantly on the go, or doing something, you simply don’t allow yourself enough time to recover from what’s happened to you all day. That is damaging.
2. You don’t reflect.
For a lot of people, this is exactly why they stay “busy”. I’ll admit that there have been times in my life where being busy was an easy distraction from what was really going on. All it does is prolong the issue. It’s important to re-focus on other things when one aspect of your life goes out the window, but it’s also important to reflect on what’s going on around you. As we reflect on things, we figure out how we really feel, and we find out what we really want. And knowing what you want is the first step to getting what you want.
3. You don’t get to just hang out.
On a recent trip home, I asked my parents to go for a walk with me. They both love walks, but I could tell that my mom felt guilty about not cooking or doing something else. My dad and I convinced her that a walk would be better for her, even though her initial instinct was to create something. I don’t really blame her. In a world where we’re told to constantly be doing something, it’s hard to justify wanting to hang out with people. We all know that we’re social creatures, so why do we fight it?
Make time for the people you care about.
4. You don’t explore.
This ones goes for travel, as well as simply being in your home city or country. When your schedule’s always jam-packed, you never leave room for spontaneity. I like having a general idea of what I may want to see or do when I travel, but I never plan my days out ahead of time. I like to wake up, and go with my gut. It’s so much more fun that way. So, while there may be that one day where you know you need to be at a certain monument because you have a ticket for it, there’s nothing wrong with also letting yourself make a plan the morning-of.
Although “real life” doesn’t really work that way, as we often have to be somewhere (wherever we work), there can be some room for spontaneity throughout the week. Leave a couple of openings. Not every weekend needs to be planned weeks in advance.
5. You resent your job.
I can’t even begin to describe how soul-sucking it feels to go to work on a Monday morning when you’ve had no “free” time on a weekend, or at all during the week before. It’s better for you and your job if you allow yourself some time to indulge in what ever it is that you like to do. If you genuinely like to stay busy 24/7, then by all means, do it! Listen to your body, but don’t overstretch.
The point is to strike a balance, and to know what works for you. I’ve come to learn that I like using my time wisely, and that includes allowing myself to take a break from things as I need to. Why not?