On the heels of my mentor Peleg Top's story about where creative answers come from, is a blog article called "Busyness Is Not a Virtue." While seemingly unrelated, boy are they! Ok universe, I hear you. I have put my listening ears on. And since I believe that you sometimes teach best what you most need to learn, I'll share this one with you.
In his story, Peleg reflects on how, by taking three months off, he shut off the "noise" in his life—the email, the social media, even the clients.
"…how can we possibly hear what goes on inside of us if all we hear is noise from the outside?
But if you slow down enough to create a quiet space between your ears, you'll hear what you've been trying to tell yourself for so long. Peleg suggests gifting yourself time and space for this quiet space to occur by taking a 30-minute walk; stay curious, and without expectations. Something wondrous may happen.
"Suddenly, a path may open. Slowly, ideas may spark. You may see something new in the situation or get an idea about a different approach to the problem. It may not be THE solution but you might get an idea about where to go to get the right answer. And sometimes, of course, the answer will blossom before you like the most beautiful spring flower, waiting for you to notice."
"Busyness Is Not a Virtue" rings true with a similar note. How many times have I personally answered the "How are you?" question with "Busy!"??! Oh dang—guilty as charged (hanging my head in shame), but not consciously! I am reminded that no one wants to hear this. Ever. And lamenting how busy you are doesn't accomplish anything. Nothing.
I wish I knew who wrote this, because he/she nailed it on the head, and I'd say a great big thank you. Here are the answers you're really giving when you say "I'm busy":
The author goes on the mention one of the best books EVAR, The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer. (This book has been around for 50 years--yes, it's that good.)
While not consciously saying any of the above reasons, if that's what's coming across when I say "I'm busy," I am certainly going to change not only how I reply, but how "busy" I perceive myself to be. The article's author suggests doing an attention audit, tracking your computer time, and tracking how much you actually get done. The author quotes Laura Vanderkam:
Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority," and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder.
Once these priorities have been made clear with the new language, the author recommends you "change your definition of 'productivity' to encompass those things."
The author's advice to "Press pause," and "Do less and feel more joy," resonates with what Peleg said to create space. Both blog articles point out a whole lot of "me, me, me" going on. So many wise bits of advice here. Now to implement them! I think I'll go for a walk.
Thanks for reading!
Good juju-spreader, speaker, graphic designer. I'd love to hear from you!