Do you rush through life filling it up with tasks, to do lists and things you are doing? When is the last time you asked someone how they were and they replied “oh you know totally bored, nothing much happening, just taking every day as it comes”. More often than not nowadays, when we ask each other how we are, we reply with “busy”. But NOT being busy can be good for you.
There is a sense that if you are not busy you must be lazy, selfish, out of the game, behind the pack. Life moves faster than the speed of light with all the information thrown at us every day and social media connects us to every waking and sleeping moment of our friends, strangers, celebrities, cute animals, hell even strange concepts such as bread facing (seriously it’s a thing, just google it). Many people who say they are overly busy all the time have created this busyness, they have booked themselves into all sorts of activities and jobs, their kids are also scheduled to the hilt, with no free time to simply hang about, or kick a ball in the backyard.
Being busy does not make you a better person. In fact it can make you less of what you are capable of. Your body is like a car and if you do not fill it up with petrol, give it time to cool down, let it rest under the carport in the shade, offer some TLC with a good clean from top to toe – it will eventually break. And so will you.
Being busy is great on some levels, and we all need something to do, but if you are running around like a headless chicken with too many tasks on your list, it is likely you will end up less productive, burnt out and dissatisfied with life.
Here are 5 Reasons Why Not Being Busy Can Be Good For You
1. It allows time to make choices
We all think, worry, daydream, plot and plan. A large amount of our thinking time is in remembering things we have to do on a practical level, such as grab milk on the way home, right through to the big picture dreams and aspirations of life. You may have hundreds of ideas about your life, but only a small fraction of them are likely to be worth pursuing. You may also have lots of versions of an idea before it really comes to life. I am all for jumping in and just going for something, and this is often my approach in business and in life, I think this is needed and failure is an important part of learning. However for a truly remarkable idea to work, it needs time to develop, like a good wine. Even if you take the leap first, taking time to then let the idea settle and evolve it is important – it is also how you decide if it is working or not.
2. It broadens your horizons
Having lots of little things on your to do list and ticking them off can feel like you are achieving something, but what are your really achieving? It is a bit like housework – you set out on a Saturday with a list of jobs, get them all done and feel great for a few hours and then the kids and the cats trash the house again and you are back to square one. Taking some slow time allows the bigger picture ideas to breathe and focuses your mind so it is more razor sharp when you are ready to get busy again.
3. It fills up your creativity and grows ideas
Tim Kreider in The New York Times, says that
“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.”
We need idle time, daydreaming, moments to simply be, to allow our creative juices to flow. Our brain needs time without great forced activity. I recently saw something on the ABC that said children need daydreaming time to learn in school and that this is perhaps the most important part of learning. And in an article on Mind Shift, that “the ability to become absorbed in our own thoughts is linked to our ability to focus intently on the world outside.”
4. It reminds you of what matters
Stopping to smell the roses is not just healthy for your brain, but it allows you time to remember all the things that really matter in your life – the people, pleasures and the little things. Taking an hour for lunch instead of eating at your desk and heading out for a walk in the park, meeting your partner for a slow lunch, reading your favourite novel, or heading to the pool for a swim, will recharge your brain, refresh your body and allow you time away from busy, and make your work time more productive.
5. It balances your life
Do you ever get that feeling that things are not right? A general sense of anxiety and high stress can sit right on your shoulder all the time like a little grey cloud of worry. You may not even be able to pin point it, it is just there. If you can never let go, set the laptop away, click off social media and spend some time in real life with loved ones, reading a book in the sunshine, pottering in the garden or simply sitting on the grass, this worry can take a stronger hold and can be hard to shake. Try taking 15 minutes during the day to practice some mindfulness, breathe in and out, take long slow breaths, awaken all your senses to your present, non busy moment, and separate from the idea that life is all about a race to the end.
I am sure when you are ready to leave this world you will be remembering that long slow walk in the sunshine with your family, and not the time you ticked off the 475 items on your to do list.
Do you feel like life is all too busy? Or do you take time out from doing, to being? I would love to hear so drop me a comment below