Stop the Glorification of Busy!


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Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
– Socrates


It strikes me that many of us have a story that in order to be “successful” we have to be “busy”. I certainly know that I used to believe this to be so. If any one was talking to me about work and asked “So, are you busy?” I listened to that question as “So, are you successful? Do you have enough work? Are you good at what you do?” An helpful perspective for me.

For others they hold the story that if they are not seen to be busy then they could be seen as incompetent, replaceable or a waste of space. And in my experience what is happening is that our own stories about our self worth, competence and value get tied up with how “busy” we are. The stronger our own story is about the link the more important being or being seen to be busy becomes and by extension we end up casting those expectations on to each other. And so we perpetuate a viscous cycle of the glorification of busy!

Quite some time ago now I decided to stop being a slave to the notion of “busy”. These days when someone asks me if I am busy my response is:

“I choose not to do busy”.

I love the idea that I can choose how and when I work. That’s a marvellous benefit of ‘being your own boss’. So let’s stay with people who are their own bosses for a moment. There are so many people I know who are their own bosses and they left the corporate world of employment to become their own person yet find themselves enslaved by their own businesses. So caught up in working in the business to keep afloat or keep up with the Jones’ or they can be so caught up in the passions of their own creation that they forget to take time for themselves. If this sounds like you, my invitation to you is to go and find some grass and lie on it… look at the immensity of the sky and pause for possibilities. What would you prefer your life to be like? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like!

And then there are those of you who are still in the employ of another or other entities. For you there might be some different stories about the importance of “busy”. A guy I know recently realised that there might be more “busy” impacts on his life than he had initially thought. His biggest realisation came from the ‘mouths of babes’. It was when one of his children highlighted his working hours to him that the full impact of the glorification of busy hit home. We talked about some of the work related impacts… the creation of the identity of being the last person in the office each night, the amount of work he got through by working the equivalent of nearly two days each single day he was at work. We pondered the thoughts others might have about him. Everything from being a workaholic through to making others look bad because they went home to their pets, friends, partners or families. So, my invitation to you is that on the next break you take, get out and find some grass or on the way home stop at a park or if you have a back yard with grass go lie down on it when you get home, pause for possibilities and ponder the identity and relationship with “busy” you’d rather have.

Some simple ways to stop the glorification of busy…

1. Choose your response
Have a response ready for the next time someone asks you “So, are you busy?”
Here are some options depending on your style and the identity you want to create:

  • “I choose not to do busy”
  • “I have lots of great things happening”
  • “I'm stopping the glorification of busy, I am having a great time”
  • “I don’t do busy and I have just the right amount of interesting things happening in my world”


What would you choose to say?

2. Choose to pause
Take some time out to pause for possibilities.
Here are some suggestions:

  • Take some time at the start of each day to reflect on how you want the day to go.
  • Take a lunch break outside your work space every day. Research says you’ll be much more productive in the afternoon.
  • Schedule some time each week to “pause for possibilities” and see what wonderful ideas show up when you allow yourself the space.
  • Go lie on some grass and ponder the wonders of the universe and it’s untold possibilities.


How will you pause for possibilities?

It is time to stop the glorification of busy. Join the party…

Because your Mind Health Matters…

Jacqui Chaplin | jacqui@jacquichaplin.com | +61 (0) 412 741 531


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