Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Busy Syndrome

Have you ever noticed that it's a badge of honour to be too busy to do something? Someone says, "how are you?" and you respond "Busy!!" With that, you get a nod of approval or commiseration as your acquaintance starts to tell you how buy he or she is too.

Some people thrive on being too busy to do something or they accept to do something but they make sure you know that they really are too busy to do this. Are we all really that busy?

I was thinking about this because right now, I am very busy. While I don't like being bored, I also don't like being overwhelmed and that's how I feel when I get too busy.

My writing here has suffered because of the lack of time and, unfortunately, sometimes something has to give. Since my clients pay me for my writing and my new job (more on that in a bit) pays me, the non-paying stuff gets relegated a bit lower on the totem pole.

Unfortunately, the busy-ness also keeps me from doing things I enjoy, and that's not a healthy thing. We need to stop being busy and take that time. And, that time shouldn't be included in being busy, if that makes any sense.

I love to quilt. I love to design them and see them turn into beautiful and functional works of art. But being too busy takes me away from that outlet, from that joy I experience when I give someone a quilt I designed and made for them. My husband's niece is having a baby in June and I want - of course - to make a baby quilt for her. I've yet to start. That's not right. I don't want to be rushing it; I want it to be the way I see it in my mind. I want it to be as close to perfect as it can be.

So, how do I balance all this with my new job and my writing? I think I've found a way. I've been hired as a clinical resource nurse and I'm working with nurses and nursing staff become up-to-date with new policies and procedures so the patients and residents in our facility can and will get the best nursing care they can. I was originally hired to work 21 hours per week over a four-day period, but something came up and I was asked if I could do one full 8-hour day one day a week to, in a different area. I agreed to do that, but it's thrown a wrench in my carefully laid out plans.

Although my dream was to be a full-time freelance writer, and it was working out, things change. While the economic situation hasn't hit hard for me, the uncertainty of things worries me sometimes. So, when this job came up, I thought I could cut my writing to half time and do the job half time. I did. By finishing up some projects and not taking on any more, I think I was able to strike a good balance. But then, this extra day was thrown in. And that's what is keeping me so busy now. I know it will only be temporary, but I hate being one of those people who answers, "BUSY!" when I'm asked how I am.

What is being so busy going to do to us in the long run? Isn't *not* being busy important too? Isn't not being busy part of winding down, realizing that there's more to life than seeing how much we can cram into a day? I think it is.

1 comment:

Old Wife said...

North Americans seem to have this idea that being busy is a virtue and doing nothing is a character flaw. Fortunately, I rejoice in being lazy ;-)

If I don't have time to just sit and think (not about stuff that needs to get done), I get stressed and things fall through the cracks. Even being too busy doing fun things isn't right. We all need down time.