“Busy” An Overratted Status Symbol


We have all heard the adage that “time waits for no man’ and the idea that “the clock is ticking.”  It got me to thinking about how much weight we place on the idea of time, this invisible taskmaster, created by our own minds in collaboration with the sun and moon.  We have allowed it to dictate how we move through life, from how our days are designed to when big experiences should take place, such as weddings.  Sometimes we even judge our worth by it, since we all know as we age beauty fades.  We often feel pressed for time and worry that “time is passing us by.”

We spend ample amounts of time worrying about time!

We all know that “time will tell,” because we assume it is wise and all knowing.  Somehow, we believe our future selves will have learned more, the more time we are given to paddle around in our tragedies and triumphs.  Because it is so wise, we desire and fear the passage of it.  We get wrapped around and all tangled up in it, rather than utilizing it for what it is; a way to categorize and structure our experience.

It is not helpful that the American culture dictates that we worry more about time and the passing of it than any other culture in existence.  We are also the most stressed and we are certainly up there in the charts when it comes to being unhealthy for having worried ourselves sick about it.

Yet, time does not care, because it only exists within our self-imposed reality.

While I think the idea of time was meant to bring solid structure into our lives; I fear it often deals only in dolling out chaos.  While we are so busy being worried about it, getting worked up over it, celebrating it and cursing it; time simply waits in its infinite way totally oblivious to our strife.  It is not worried or hurried.  It does not notice whether we are 8 or 80, or if we are newlywed or newly divorced or if we are happy or sad about life in general.

I wonder what life would be like if we could pry “times hands” from around us, while still having respect for the human experience.   There is no doubt we need the idea of time to function in society and within all of our varied systems.  However, I am left wondering why we pay so much homage to it?

I remember as a child, how time seemed so infinite and vast. 

It passed more slowly, I think mostly because we did not pay as much attention to it as we do as adults.  I miss those days!  The days when summer seemed to last forever; you could get lost and be found on the same day.  I grew up in the country, which I have fond memories of.  It was not like living in the suburbs as I do now.  No one was hurried back then, no rushing and bustling about or creating errands just to be busy.  When you went grocery shopping, you did it like you were serious, because you did not have the luxury of going back whenever you wanted.  In other words, we did not fill our days with busy.  Our days were long and we gave our full attention to the task at hand, until it was complete and left us feeling satisfied.  Then and only then, did we move on to the next task or event.

Busy, has somehow become an overrated status symbol. 

As if being busy makes us feel important and productive.  We rush everywhere we go, both losing track of and simultaneous worry about, time.  We are often careless with our time, even though we feel we do not have enough of it.  If our to-do list seems too small, we often purposefully fill it in so we appear to have a full and more fulfilling life.  For example, we stay late at work and then have to rush home to care for our domestic life, with which we go at full tilt attempting to do both.  Not really giving any of our tasks our full attention or anyone person our true time.   Of course, I would like to point out that technology has not helped us in this category either.  But, that’s a different topic for another day perhaps.  What I know is…..

We are exhausted and time is flying!!!


This month, I strongly urge you to slow down.  Purposefully fill your to-do list with important and meaningful (to you) tasks and then take as much time as you feel you can allot to each task, giving it your full attention before moving on.  You might try purposefully adding in tasks that are fun, joyful or peaceful; such as going for a walk, reading a book or spending time with your kiddo(s).  Be mindful of how many unhelpful or unnecessary “fillers” you are tempted to put on your list.  Ask your self, does this have to get done today, am I being fussy or is this really necessary and how is this task value added?  Then be sure to give yourself ample time in getting where you need to go and to complete each meaningful task you have given yourself.  Try not to rush or appear busy for the sake of being busy!  Doing so is actually a disservice to both you, the task and those you interact with along the way.  (While I do not believe that time is as important as we often are tempted to make it, I do believe it should be respected and valued on some level.)

It is unnecessary, unhelpful, unfulfilling and unhealthy to allow time to trick us into feeling rushed, harried or overly worried about it and every little detail of our lives.  Stop attempting to look so far into the future and plan every single second out. Rather enjoy the now, also known as the present, and the task or event currently at hand.

You might be thinking to yourself, but wait a second I do not have a to-do list and I am not a planner.  You may imagine you fly by the seat of your pants and your lack of planning makes you fun and spontaneous, but trust me, whether you write it down or invent it as you go along, you have a to-do list.   Were human, after all, and on some level, we like to keep track of things and know whats coming up next.

My wish for you this month is that you remember to breathe, smile and honor yourself and others in your life who matter.  Remember, while time might not wait for man, we do have some control over how we spend it and whom we choose to spend it with.  Would you rather spend it hurried, worried and busy?  Or would you rather take your time and spend it doing things that have value, purpose, and meaning?

Because just being busy for the sake of being busy, is most assuredly overrated.

~ TS



About thoughtfulstroll

I am a veteran, a professional business woman and a counselor in training. Follow me on my journey to becoming a mental health professional.
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