Why does it feel so good to be overly-busy?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever double-booked yourself by filling up your day with too many appointments, to the point that you arrive half an hour late at your high school get-together just to make time for that yoga session that you squeezed in between the two modules you knew you should have just saved for the next semester? Have you ever told yourself that you were going to be productive by cramming 3 weeks of revision into three hours? Or by signing yourself up for so many dance classes that you barely have time to repair your muscles at the end of the day? Do any of your friends and family tell you to stop over-working yourself, yet you simply insist that this was your way of making the most out of life? Well, if you raised your hand to any of these examples or to any situation similar, then you were right to click on this article.

Ask yourself. Are trying to keep yourself productive, or are you just trying to be busy to give yourself the false sense of security that you are doing far better than your peers? Being busy is never the same as being productive. A dog can dig up a whole park for his bone and that’ll keep him busy. But if there was never a bone buried there in the first place, he’ll just tire himself out and not reap any happiness. That’s you. You’re the dog. It’s unfortunate to say, but you’ve mistaken multi-tasking and constant scurrying around as evidence for productivity. This is just the cold, hard truth. And I know because I’ve been in your place. Hell, I’m still in it.

Being busy is like a drug. This is not the real kind of ‘busy’, like the popsicle kind of busy where if you crunch through the ice, you’ll eventually get the flavour. No. This is the ice bar kind of busy. You crunch through and get no flavour. You fill up more of those ice trays, thinking eventually you’ll get taste some of that sweet goodness. But water has no taste.You’re taking on unnecessary business, piling on the unwanted stress onto yourself and possibly killing your health. Your relationships become dead too, like splat there they go. These side effects are killing you and you don’t even know it.

What’s so addictive about being busy? There has to be something deeper than just wanting to seem better than our peers. The law of relativity can only go so far to motivate us. Could it be… That in a way… We have a fear of relaxing? There could be an equation existing in our minds where relaxing = boredom = lack of productivity. We don’t know how to relax and therefore we become so listless and in it, we feel guilty for not making full use of our time. As such, we try to fill up our schedule as much as possible which sometimes can end up with conflicting and overlapping interests.

But this is weird. Why would we not know how to relax? We have advanced so much in technology that we should be the masterminds of leisure! We’ve got a lot on our hands to play around with and good music as accompaniment to boot. The world’s still a crazy place but it’s a hella lot better than hundreds of years back with sickness and decay and constant beheadings (okay, maybe a couple of those things have lived on).

Or perhaps we’re all constantly aware that everything in this world has the potential to become more. There’s that tiny voice in our head that’s always disturbing us, screaming for us to do something. We want to be that one person that contributes the most to make the greatest change, be it to ourselves or those around us. We’re all going to die one day, some sooner than the rest, and we don’t know our expiration date. It’s simply a race to know who can make the most out of the little time we have.

Hence when we’re busy, there’s the thought of “Yes, yes, I’m achieving so much right now and I can’t stop because then, I won’t be doing anything.” Because without a continuous triumph and celebration, the dread of wasting our lives comes back even if that ‘waste of time’ was significant in giving us a temporary physical and mental break.

So cut your body and mind some slack and stop taking up tasks that you know, deep down inside, aren’t worth it. A dead busy bee is and stays dead.

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