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The Identity of Busy


“So, how have you been?”

“Flat out!”

I know I do it. I’m sure you’ve found yourself doing it too, at least once in a while. When someone asks you how you are, you’re almost bursting to tell them how busy you are. Do we want people to be impressed by us? Do we use it as an excuse? Do we want to ensure people think you are making the most of life?

The Chicken or the Egg?

I wonder where it all started? At some point as a child or teenager, did we hear our parents or someone we admired, tell people how busy they were? I know I always wanted to seem grown up, older than I was (ah, the innocence of children!). I can imagine I picked up this phrase and recited it regularly when I was at university or started working. The thing is, I doubt I was really all that busy at the time. On reflection, I was likely busy enough, but not the level of busyness I was trying to convey. Yet I believe it was this desire to be busy that perpetuated the now present reality of being busy, and thus, still proclaiming how busy I am. It’s a habit now, isn’t it. An automatic reply to the questions “how are you?”

The ‘Busy’ Trap

This leads me to sharing with you the article by Tim Kreider in the New York Times – The ‘Busy’ Trap.

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”

I found myself nodding and smiling as I read this article. I immediately saw myself in his words, along with many people I know. Is it as simply as us breaking the habit of answering “busy” to that questions? I’m not sure I have the answers, but Kreider does his best to at least put some perspective on the situation. Enjoy!

Read The Article Here – The ‘Busy’ Trap by Tim Kreider

Are you stuck in the busyness trap? Or have you managed to find a way out? Tell us about it in the comments below.