Aren’t To-Do lists magical? I love listing out my tasks, checking them off, and giving myself a big ‘ole pat on the back when I’ve scratched out that very last item. My ego revels in this feeling of accomplishment. It smiles adoringly at me and shouts-‘You are productive!’.
Similarly, I love a day of finishing errands. Bouncing busily from one thing to the next. It makes me feel like I am doing something with my life. There is nothing wrong with getting it done. Accomplishment is great. But what happens when we lose ourselves in the busy?
I’m going to relate a, somewhat painful, ‘busy’ story that happened all too recently in my life. A woman came to my door selling magazines for an organization. It was during a work from home day for me. The woman told the story of her life and struggles with passion and vigor. Her intention was to give context for her need. But I gradually became more and more anxious as her story continued. What if my boss needs something from me I thought to myself. What if I’m not available to answer a question-will I lose my job?.
My internal dialogue became more and more outrageous and erratic as the poor woman continued her explanation. Finally, frustrated, I cut the woman off and told her I needed to go. ‘What was it that disinterested you?’ she asked with confusion. The time. I replied and closed the door.
There’s nothing wrong with getting things done. But just as drugs and alcohol can become addictions, busy can do the same. Brene Brown relates that, similar to other vices, staying busy can be a thinly veiled method to avoid our feelings. One of the keys to joyful living is, not only pausing to acknowledge our feelings and stressors, but being strong enough to sit in those feelings for a hot minute. Only once we’ve felt all the feels we can recognize our roadblocks and authentically move on to the next place in our journey.