Monday, May 9, 2011

Busy is a four letter word

Being busy is a constant. The word means little due to overuse. We use busy to connote a full life, one that we can explain to other people with a shorthand term that everyone can understand. In today's world, over-saturated as it is with information, experiences, options, busy is practically not optional. And for many of us, busy is a good thing. Busy means jobs, school, family, life. It means we have something to show for ourselves. We might say to a friend, "Oh, I'm so busy," with a hint of regret, as if we wish things were different, but what we're really saying is that our lives are full and therefore not failures.

What would it mean to be not busy? Would we be not productive? Would we be failing at life? A part of me thinks that if you said you haven't actually been that busy lately, other people might judge you, as though you aren't making the most of your time or you aren't working hard enough. But that isn't true. Being busy doesn't automatically mean being successful, happy or fulfilled. And having free time doesn't mean you're lazy, apathetic or lack goals.

Though I too use the word busy as a shorthand to communicate to others that my life is full, I don't shy away from free time. I think free time is imperative to living a complete life, and I should probably be more vocal about its validity in my schedule. What are all our time-saving productivity tools about anyway, if not to create a chunk of real time that can be spent in idleness, or at least reading a trashy romance novel, instead of returning emails, getting the car washed or looking for your favorite lipstick.

I'm not going to strive to be busy. I'd rather strive to be complete.

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email Sign up for Lelah's News, a once-monthly newsletter.

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