I Quit the Glorification of ‘Busy’

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When someone asks you how you’ve been, have you ever replied with “flat out” or “crazy busy”? If so, has that same person congratulated you for being run off your feet? In our “can do” society, where everyone is quite literally stressed up to their eyeballs, “getting busy” has become a huge problem. I recently quit “being busy” and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

Whilst “being busy” may seem like a normal response to some, I stopped myself when I realised I found a sense of comfort and empowerment in those words. Why on earth did “being busy” make me feel so good? 

I did a quick google search and “busy” also means ‘unavailable’, ‘hustling’, ‘overloaded’, ‘swamped’, ‘in someone else’s possession’ and ‘on the go’. I’ll admit that I was a little taken aback; being ‘busy’ didn’t sound so glorious when I looked at it like that. I wondered what on Earth I had been telling people? “I’m overloaded, swamped, unavailable”? Whilst it doesn’t have the same ring to it, looking back I realised those words pretty much summed up what was going on. So why did I willingly accept it? 

As I sat there dumbfounded, I decided to look up the antonyms for the term ‘busy’ and it was here I discovered a whole lot more about myself. The terms “lazy” and “inactive” came up and I knew instantly that I sure as hell didn’t want to be any of those. Could it be that the fear of being perceived as “lazy” was enough to drive us to work longer hours, to sleep with our I-phones, miss important moments with friends and family and sacrifice our health? I’ve heard of crazier things happening. 

So how do we change? 

If you ask me, stop eating avocado on toast for dinner at your desk, is a great place to start. 

Look, I’m the first to admit that achieving your set tasks is gratifying (I freaking LOVE a to-do list), but I soon realised that it wasn’t worth sacrificing my health and wellbeing. Let’s face it, we are on this earth for such a short period of time, there are no prizes awarded to the person who worked the most hours, there are no memorable moments that come from the late night’s in front of the computer and I’m pretty sure no-one on their death bed says “Geez, I wish I worked more”. We (or I) need to switch our mentality and re-define, being ‘un-busy’. No longer does it mean “lazy”, it means ‘in control of our own life’, ‘available for our friends and family’ and simply having time to enjoy the special moments – that’s the stuff life is really all about right? 

My Plan to Get “Un-Busy”: 

  1. Nuture my well-being– If you’re not taking care of yourself, than who is? This year I’ve been scheduling more time with friends, making time to reconnect with nature and even have a trip home scheduled to see my family.
  2. Consciously do less – I’ve reduced my workload by taking on a new PA. It now means I have more time for the things I am passionate about and it fills me with so much enthusiasm and passion – eek, I can’t even begin to describe it. 
  3. Get Productive – Focus my attention where it is needed. My new PA has been instructed to ensure this happens regularly. 
  4. Switch-off – After you’ve checked in on the AAAD blog (see what I did there?), switch electronics off for the night. Engage in conversation, read that book you’ve always wanted to, take an epsom salts bath, get an early night. Whatever it is, make sure you take full advantage of time off line. Let’s be honest, if you’re watching TV, you’re either on your phone or laptop anyway filling in the add breaks, why not make it worthwhile?
  5. Become “Really Well” – When someone asks you how you are, reply with “really well” instead of “really busy”. Watch their face change. This kind of response often holds a mirror up to those involved and subtly gives them a taste of what they’re missing. 

How do you plan on getting “un-busy”? I would love to know!


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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.