Busy Is Not Working -- A Manifesto for Our Time

Look up for a moment, look around you.

Everyone rushing around.

Hustling and bustling.

Everyone seems so busy.

Busy like bees.

Rushing from meeting to meeting.

Busy on the phone.

Busy trying not to drown under mountains of email.

Busy juggling and multi-tasking.

Busy trying to keep up.

Busy being busy.

Yet how many of them are really producing anything of real value, really succeeding at a high level?

We're busy but what is really getting done?

Are we making the world a better place with all this busy?

Are we spending more quality time with the very people we're really working for?

Are we curing diseases?

Are we averting human disasters?

Is being busy meaning we get to tuck our kids in at night and read them bedtime stories?

Is being busy meaning we get to spend more quality time with our friends?

Is being busy all the time meaning we get to make time for our hobbies and passion projects?

Is busy leading to less stress in our lives?

Is busy meaning we get more quality work done? Note: I said quality not quantity

If the answer is yes, great -- keep on with busy. If the answer is no, then maybe we need to step back and ask a bigger question:

Why are we spending time invested in busy if busy isn't working for us?

Busy -- A Modern and Man-Made Disease
Being busy is mostly something we've created.

We scurry around, chasing our tails because that's what the masses do. We're in this together. No time to think why we're in it.

Technology that was meant to help us just creates more busy. We can now be contacted 24 hours a day by the office. We can check email anytime. We're plugged in constantly so find it harder and harder to disconnect.

We wear busy as a badge of honor. We boast how busy we are. We're strangely proud to be busy because we think that's what we should be doing with our time. If we're not busy what then?

We're working harder. We're busier but goals still remain frustratingly out of reach. That holiday with the family we've promised them never materializes. If it does, it takes us a week to just reset and hit a baseline of un-busy.

Catching up with friends turns into a yearly but still rushed get together. We're busy after all.

We're wired for busy. But busy isn't working for us. In fact, we're paying a heavy price for all this busy. Maybe there's another way.

Unplug from Busy
Maybe we need to unplug from busy.

Maybe we need to see busy less as something to be chased and rather something to be avoided or as an indication that we need more balance in our life.

Maybe we need to make sure that if we are busy we're busy with something that is truly important and valuable. Not busy checking social media shares or moving bits of paper around the office that no one ever reads.

Being busy and being productive are mutually exclusive.

Being busy and being successful are mutually exclusive.

In fact, take a look at the most successful and productive people you know. Do they scurry around complaining how busy they are all the time? Or do they instead, focus in on what is important and spend their time on it? Unhurried, unrushed -- just focused.

We all get the same number of hours in a day. How we use them is up to us.

Once we stop looking at the world through a prism of busy everything starts to look different. Everything starts to become clearer. The unimportant fall at the hands of the truly important. The noise and humdrum gets the volume turned down. We can suddenly find time for friends, family, hobbies and passion projects. We can find time to reflect, to think, to pause and to reset.

Get unbusy. Get focused. Live your life.

Carl is the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live a simpler and more personally satisfying life. He is also the author of several books including 22 Ways to Simpler Living, 22 Ways to Happier and Frictionless Email. To read more and/or contact him go to his site.


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