Saturday, November 10, 2007

Too Busy

It seems like everyone I talk to is "too busy". We all race around like chickens with our heads cut off, scrambling to get everything done, doing very little of it well, and often enjoying less of it. But why? There are a few people (single moms supporting their kids come to mind) who really don't have many options; they really do have to race from work to homework to bed. But for most of us, we have made a choice to be too busy. We have chosen to take on too many tasks - all good, but too many. We deprive ourselves of down time, of contemplation, of flexibility, of time to be present and enjoy our life. Even our friendships are scheduled now.

Most of us don't really want to have made these choices, but it is hard not to in this culture, which values so highly the efficient multi-tasker who gets things done. People who don't get things done tend to be viewed as slackers; we no longer honor our wisemen unless they have long, impressive resumes. It is hard to turn down the plethora of good opportunities so we can sit quietly - and harder to turn down the books to just sit; it is easy to feel guilty that we aren't doing something "productive". It is one of the hidden disadvantages of living in a culture with so many options.

So how do I quit being "too busy"? How do I learn to say no, to balance calm against active, to value wisdom over information? I guess recognizing that I've made a choice is the first step - then I have a chance to make a different choice.

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