The standard question, “hey, what’s up—how have you been?” is generally followed up with the standard response, “oh, you know, super busy.” I came across a New York Times article, The ‘Busy’ Trap written by Tim Kreider and felt like he had really tapped into something. It seems that no one has the time to enjoy themselves outside their work obligations, and if they do find time to squeeze in some fun, it is also supplemented with a sharp twinge of guilt that they aren’t promoting their work.
- The lives of beloved cats and dogs! Cat and dog models are Samson and Milo, respectively.
I am not jumping on the ‘busyness is overrated’ bandwagon or saying we should live like cats and dogs. However, I do recognize the importance of taking time for yourself and idleness. I think it is important to be able to step back from your work and enjoy life. Taking time away from your work and nurturing other interests or relationships is a necessity. If anything, it develops a well-rounded individual.
I think that too many companies/organizations struggle with creating company culture that allows individuals to become well-rounded. Employees need time to do things for themselves. This time away will help so that when they are at work, these individuals will feel excited, focused, and also have new creative ways to solve problematic situations.
External outlets, including taking ‘me time’, has become a distant childhood memory. Even worse, Kreider mentions how kids today are even feeling the pressures of our society’s obsession with being busy. While there might be a spike in productivity, I think that extreme busyness is a quick solution to improve revenue streams that will result in long-term societal issues including stress, depression, and dysfunctional family/personal relationships.
The biggest issue I have with constant busyness is it takes away from people’s creativity. Immersing oneself in different environments enhances creativity and general happiness. My applause of this article should not be mistaken as an excuse to be lazy. I pride myself on being a dedicated worker who is happy to go above and beyond. However, I just believe that society would be a much better place if people weren’t feeling constant pressure to satisfy their employer or advance their career. It should be OK to kick back and enjoy free time as FREE TIME.
I am kind of joking/kind of not when I say: Look at Matthew Weiner’s fascinating character, Don Drapper — his idleness (OK, idle drinking) leads to some of his best creative copy. You may remember the episode where Draper pitches a campaign for a Kodak slide projector, The Carousel, where he uses images from his own life. I feel as though it was one of his most creative pitches, because he could draw from personal nostalgic memories. Watch the clip below.
Many of my once-in-a-lifetime-experiences have occurred because I took time for myself — unrelated from my work responsibilities. It is important to not fall victim to turning down amazing opportunities to experience life outside of work because one feels guilty or too tired from being busy.