Why You Should Never Aspire to be Busy

Being busy is overrated. Hence, conversations such as the following need to stop.

Courtesy of Free Digital Photos: Stuart Miles
Courtesy of Free Digital Photos: Stuart Miles

“Hey, how have you been?”

“I’ve been really busy.”

“Well, busy is good.”

No, busy isn’t always good. Being busy means no time to stop and smell the roses. It means you don’t have time to enjoy the simple things. And it often means overworked and overstressed. Yet so many people think of busy as a sign of success or right of passage. It’s so often associated with productivity or popularity that many people feel like losers if they can’t identify with “busy.” We need to stop that way of thinking and stop aspiring to be busy for the sake of being busy.

I admit I used to be one of them until I realized the need to constantly proclaim some form of “busy” was just a superficial way to validate my worth to others. I was so hung up on the word “busy” that I would lie to others and say I was busy just so I could seem like someone important. But let’s face it – nobody cares that you can’t make it to Timothy’s presentation because you have dinner to cook, a birthday party to attend, and a charity function to organize. Sure, they may all be good things and may make you seem like a hot commodity from the outside looking in. But what your busy schedule really means is that you lost the power to say no and the ability to prioritize.

I know what you are thinking, “But my job is really demanding and I have so much to do at home.” I believe you, but can you honestly say you are happy with it? Are you happy with the fact you barely have a moment for yourself? Are you satisfied knowing that you are so indispensable that no one seems to be able to do anything for themselves? Is it a good feeling to realize your inability to say no has made it impossible to relax and caused you to spread yourself thin? Is it fulfilling to tout your packed schedule that somehow translates into a imaginary mathematical formal that determines your self-worth?

I’m willing to bet you answered “no” to at least one of those questions. That’s because the “busy” state you aspire to claim translates into an unbalanced life. There is nothing good about having an unbalanced life. My suggestion? Learn to say no, delegate to others, and prioritize. And of course, aspire to be relaxed over busy. No, it won’t deem you a loser for life. It only means you’ve lifted some weight off your shoulders so you can finally enjoy life.

Once upon a time, I felt ashamed when I wasn’t busy. Now, I  long for the days when my schedule is clear so I can say, “No, I’m not busy” with pride.


How do you feel about being busy? Do you feel like a loser if you are not busy and successful when you are?

TERRIfic Quip: Stop the glorification of busy.

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