“How are things?”
“How are things?”
“I am not especially busy. I have time to <talk or listen or play or laugh or help or sleep or exercise or learn or think or create>.”
Roughly how often do you have the first conversation versus the second conversation?
I admit, I experience Conversation #1 much more often than I do Conversation #2, both as the question-asker and the question-answerer.
“Busy” has become the default status update for many of us. And we do not normally differentiate between “Good Busy: my life is overflowing with awesome things” and “Bad Busy: I am running from crisis to crisis”, or even “Mixed Busy: there are lots of different things going on all at the same time”.
Yet every once in a while, the meeting clouds covering my calendar clear away. Looking at the next two weeks, I have multiple days with multiple hours at a time when I might not have anything scheduled. This might not seem like a big deal, but I can’t remember the last time when I wasn’t scheduled with things to do for 6-10 hours a day on a workday.
Actually, yes I can remember.
It was last July.
There is a certain amount of seasonality to most professions and industries, mine included. In interval training for runners and cyclists, there is a time to sprint, and there is a time to recover. We lift heavy weights to build strength, but then we let the muscles rest and rebuild stronger than before.
Part of the key to maximizing recovery is to notice and appreciate that it is recovery time. Appreciate it and use it. Don’t just stay stuck in the technology-fueled Busy Habit.
If you feel busy, by all means say that you are busy. But consider sharing the qualities of your busyness too. What kind of busy are you? Good busy? (#firstworldproblems and all that.) Bad busy? Or mixed busy?
And if you are not busy, do yourself and our collective culture a favor and say you are not busy. Busyness is not a badge of honor. By saying you are busy when you are not, people do not think more of you. You are just adding stress to yourself and others. Instead, just say “I am not especially busy. I have time to <talk or listen or play or laugh or help or sleep or exercise or learn or think or create>.”
And see what happens.
DISCLAIMER: Do not use this approach if you are worried about accidentally improving the depth and quality of your relationships.