THE BUSY TRAP

by Holly on July 23, 2012

in life,seriousness,summer,weekend,Wisconsin

Life has been…well, busy.

It seems as though time is passing far too quickly, and I, in no way, can keep up. Weekends come and go, summer is now halfway over, and it all leaves me lingering on an article I read several weeks ago. An article I couldn’t help rereading over and over again thinking, “This is me.”

Really, the article was written about us. Us being nearly everyone in this fast-paced, do-it-all society. It was in the New York Times and called “The Busy Trap.”

I’ve alluded to the article twice now on the blog because we’re all busy. Every.single.one.of.us. We’ve got jobs and hobbies and obligations and kids and significant others and in the midst of all that, we’re trying to stay (somewhat) healthy, eat well and exercise for any last grab at endorphins we can muster to make it through our days before falling face first on our pillows at night.

But we don’t have to be busy. The point of the article is that most often, we choose to be busy. We choose to over schedule our days. We choose to think we can do it all. We choose to believe that by doing so many things, we are somehow better people. More worthy people. But then, we choose to complain about how busy we are when it’s all our own doing.

We’re complaining about something that is completely within our control.

And in my Everythingtarian life, it needs to stop.

For me, it all comes back to this passage:

“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. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

Saying no is imperative for idleness.

Idleness is imperative for mitigating anxiety, letting go and cultivating appreciation. It’s also absolutely necessary for regenerating creativity as I continue to embark on freelance work.

And so, I’ve been trying to lively more freely and more cognizantly. Saying yes to things just because. It’s summer after all! A time to eat your weight in fresh berries, robot dance in the street, take leisurely walks at dusk and drink beer…even if it is 11:00am in the morning.

That’s not so say neglect all responsibility, fly to Vegas and get married in the name of living free.

*cough* Britney Spears *cough*

(P.S. How’s that for a 2004 reference?)

It just means saying yes to a weekend road trip to Door County to cheer on a friend in her Half-Ironman race. And by cheer, I clearly mean drink beer while she bikes more than 60 miles.

It means giving the present moment my full attention.

It means less social media and more face-to-face contact.

And I’m working on it all this summer!

I’m working on unplugging, prioritizing my days and remembering that even if I don’t get work done or a blog post up for an entire week, life goes on. Lives aren’t at stake with what I do, which is a good thing because I don’t know CPR and I usually laugh during really serious moments.

Oreo cupcakes…cherry pies…stealing a Wisco Disco beer glass from a restaurant (not speaking from personal experience, of course)…dinner with a friend even though I had lots of work to do…a Downton Abbey marathon…or just 10 minutes of my time to do nothing but trim my cuticles.

These are the small ways I’ve escaped the busy trap this week.

Maybe try one or two yourself? That’s if you can find a beer glass as cool as Wisco Disco to steal.

Because I promise, you won’t regret it if you do.

But you certainly will if you don’t.

{ 34 comments }

Mindy July 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I just love you.

Sana July 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm

WE ARE ALL SO BUSY! Life is so hard :)

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance July 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

What a fantastic reminder to be idle. And that being idle is okay, necessary, and actually good. Thank you. I needed that. :)

Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner July 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Thank you so much for this post! It is yet another reminder that I am only ‘too busy’ when I choose to be ‘too busy.’ Enjoy the rest of your Wisco summer–I’ll be enjoying mine! :)

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Such a good message here…I don’t even work right now and I still find myself going to bed wondering where the hell the day went.

I think I’m just of the mindset where I always need to be doing something – this is a good reminder that I just need to chill once in a while.

carrie (actsofrebellion) July 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

right on girlfriend! i need a recording of this post so i can have it repeated back to me every morning when i get up? a trip to door county is on my list of summer activities as well. i’ve lived in wisco my whole life and never been there.. seriously, i’m embarrassed.

Katie July 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Beautiful post, my darlin.

Susan July 24, 2012 at 5:35 am

Where has that article (and this post) been for the last five years of my life? I’m kidding.

Seriously, I get this. I know that creating my schedule to be less hectic would do wonders for my mental health and chronic pain. The catch is that I need to also wrap my head around the fact that it is “okay” to be less busy. As you said, that I am still a “worthy” person regardless of how my day is structured. I know that you and I are not the only two anxiety-ridden ladies who subscribe to the irony of overbooking our days, inducing more mental tension, while it would be in our best interests to do the opposite.

I’m so glad you have had success with this!

Ally July 24, 2012 at 6:57 am

Absolutely phenomenal post…and one that we all probably need to hear more often! Thank GOD for yoga! :)

Uncle Tommie Timbertoes July 24, 2012 at 7:10 am

Keeping too busy can keep you from knowing anything else can exist, like this little paradigm suggests:

A man who loved water jumped into the sea to see. He swam alongside a fish. He asked the fish if he enjoyed being in water. “What water?” the fish replied.

Kait @ yogabeautylife July 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF DOWNTON?!

Now that I got that out…I LOVE this post…it is so true! I have to keep reminding myself of this now that I’m back in school. Luckily, its something that my program stresses highly: grades are just grades but the connections you make are the things that will get you through now and the future. So if I end up talking relationships and orgasms instead of studying for my environmental health exam? So be it. :)

Carolyn @HealthKitten.com July 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

I love that article when I read it a few weeks ago…and promptly showed it to my husband because he’s SO guilty of making himself busy. Social networks were especially bad. I think that’s why I have a hard time blogging lately…I’m trying to enjoy my free time, which as I’m studying web development in my off time now, pushed the blogging to the side.

I’d rather get one awesome post per week from you rather than 3-4 rushed ones. Or one every two weeks! Who cares! Nobody is going to die if you (we) don’t blog!

Free time FTW!

joelle (on a pink typewriter) July 24, 2012 at 9:17 am

I just adore this post. And heck, even you and I don’t know whatsoever. It’s all so, so, so true, and I’ve been trying to realize that myself this summer. I;ve been blaming it on my break-up, because suddenly the world is confusing but also freer (in a good and bad way), so seems like the right time to just get out there and do things, and just BE. Ya know? Without freaking out over my to-do list or crazy work schedule. You gotta sometimes.

Jasmine @ learningtofeedyourself July 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

Great post! I definitely need to learn to start saying yes to more things in life. I usually don’t have a problem with this when it comes to food (I will rarely say no to chocolate cake), but I need to work on just saying yes to other activities and trying new things. I always hesitate and worry that I won’t have enough time for “important” things like homework, but I should realize that being carefree and living in the moment more often is important as well!

Jaime's Journeys July 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

Your post is so true. This is something I know I need to work on too. Thanks for sharing!

Lauren @ The Climbing Chef July 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Lovely post, my dear! I’ve been trying to do just this before grad school starts. Living without having to look at a clock is pretty amazing right now and I am enjoying every minute out of it. Th only schedules I am making are filled with crafty DIY projects, cooking, bike rides and lots of time with my love <3 Have a great summer!!

Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

First off, that cupcake looks amazing and ridiculous and necessary. So there’s that.
Secondly, I totally get what ya mean. I very much have this tendency to take on way more than I should and then find myself bugging out when everything piles on top of itself at once. Uggg. I need a weekend where I can just live in some pretty shack in the middle of nowhere eating watermelon & watching a constant stream of “The Office” with zero guilt.

Alysha @Shesontherun July 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Awesome post, girl! Too bad you can’t send me an oreo cupcake through the computer :)

Matt @ The Athlete's Plate July 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Great post Holly! My life is so busy that I generate ZERO posts during the week. Haha ;)

Brenna July 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Such a good reminder ! French people don’t feel guilty about relaxing and neither should we. Love this post!

Stephanie July 25, 2012 at 2:48 am

Word! And what great timing as well. Currently suffering from too-much-to-do-itis, this is said so well. Even on the weekends I have a mental to do list that needs items ticked off for me to feel like I have accomplished something with my weekend.

Thanks for this post! Best blog post I have read in ages!
X Steph

Kimberly (Badger Girl) July 25, 2012 at 9:46 am

Great post Holly, as always. Here’s to finding times of peace in our busy days. Hope all is well. :)

Megan (Braise the Roof) July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I can only imagine how much harder it is to unplug and stop overscheduling when you have a job like freelancing when there aren’t clear office hours. Me, I’m pretty good at shutting off work when I leave the office (usually, not always)- but I DO find myself overcommitting frequently (um, hello 2 bookclubs and a non-profit board!). Such a good reminder to say “no” to it every once and a while.

Suzanne July 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Wonderful post………..as per usual

Jessica July 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

This post is perfection. Thanks for always keeping yo’ friends, family and fans in check. But you’re so right- I love to keep myself busy, but sometimes- enough is enough!

Ps agreed- summer is most definitely about eating your weight in seasonal berries. I cannot get enough of strawbs these days!

KateSaysYes July 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Love this! And no way could I be too busy to comment. Thank you for saying it all- one less thing that I need to ‘do’. :)

Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport July 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Right on! Live life!

Kim @ HealthyNest July 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Wow, thank you so much for posting this! This happens to be exactly what I needed to hear today. I wish I was more naturally spontaneous and less attached to my To Do list, but I guess some of us just have to work harder at it.

Also…those oreo cupcakes seriously exist? zomg.

Mackenzie July 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

thank you for robot dancing in the street. and drinking during a half marathon. and for writing this post. you are a rockstar.

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance July 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

You mean I am not the only one who robot dances in the street?! Did we just become best friends?! haha.

Our society has created this chaotic environment for all of us. We support this society by acting in the way that it expects us to, and that is busy. Busy every single day, constantly worrying about where the time is going and, “I can not believe it is almost Fall.” We are all too familiar with this. I agree, that there must be a change on an individual basis.

Melanie July 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Amazing.

Jen July 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm

That article is so fantastic, thanks for sharing it awhile back!

Cristina July 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

I read an interesting tip here: if you ever find yourself thinking “I’m too busy,” rephrase it in your head as “It’s not a priority for me.” If that still rings true, you know what you should be passing up!

Barb N. July 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Next time you go to Door County, stop and pick me up! I’m a great travel companion!!

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