My new year has been hectic. On January 2nd I drove to Los Angeles, prepped for a retreat I was hosting, and attended a gallery show. The next 3 days I taught the retreat. The day after that I filmed an educational DVD. That night I took a redeye to NYC, shot the whole next day, and then flew home the next morning. Now I’m home and looking back on my first week of the new year and I feel two things:
I am grateful, and I am stressed.
I value calm. I value being centered and balanced. Being busy is great because it is often a sign of life moving forward. But sometimes we put too much value on being busy. I am guilty of this. I send out a tweet listing all the things I have to do. I let others know that my life is constantly moving…and why? To compensate for something? To make my life seem bigger than it is?
I don’t value being busy in this way. I don’t like doing things for the sake of doing them. I am most inspired when I am home with my other half. I am most calm when I can sit and think and write and shoot and edit. I am most inspired when I’m not rushing around airports or scheduling the next thing in my week.
I think that we put too much emphasis on how busy we are, but not on how productive we are. Have you ever heard someone list all the things they had to do in their day? Often it will start with: Well I got out of bed at 6 o’clock, and then I put clothes on, and then I drove to the coffee shop and ordered coffee for my coworkers, and then I had to be at work by 8…
And all of that listing to say that someone drank coffee and went to work.
I am guilty of this. I hear people talk like this. And that is okay – we are all feeling stressed at some point and we all need someone to say that they understand, or that you’re doing a great job. But at what point do we start to place real value in those lists, to the point that having a lot to do is more valuable than the things you’re actually doing? At what point does our stock in being busy outweigh the actual living of life?
One of my goals for this year is to not be as busy. It might mean I make less money. That is something I would have to accept. It might mean that I make fewer “industry connections”, but does that really matter? I’m not one for networking, I’m one for living. Being busy is great, but to a certain point. Everyone has their own idea of how busy is too busy, and now more than ever I know my limits.
If I looked back on my life would I be able to say that I lived it exactly as I dreamed? No, probably not. And not because I am unhappy in any way, but simply I feel the need to be home more. I feel the need to spend more valuable time with my loved ones, and treasure that time in the moment. We all put emphasis on different things that are important to us. Being busy should never be something we put emphasis on, but instead it should be about the things that keep us busy – our passions – that we feel most connected to.
What are your thoughts on being busy? Are you too busy or not busy enough? What is something that you think you could use more of in your life to feel more fulfilled?