Wednesday, July 18, 2012

‘Crazy Busy’ Syndrome

Got five minutes? If so, Tim Kreider’s New York Times piece The ‘Busy’ Trap, one of the most thought-provoking items I’ve read in a while, is worth taking a moment to check out.  

This poignant op-ed speaks to an issue I’ve thought about quite a lot recently – the fact that in our culture, being busy beyond belief has become, as I once heard described in a similar piece, a badge of honor. More and more often, it seems that if someone is not "crazy busy" all the time, especially here in the land of over-achievement (aka DC), we too quickly write them off as a personal and professional failure. Worst of all is the fact that we self-inflict so much of the "craziness," fearing that if we're not constantly pushing ourselves to the breaking point, we somehow haven’t accomplished enough.

Image Source: PAWS
I've always considered myself to be an ambitious and driven person, overwhelmed by dreams that may at times exceed my grasp. But last year, I learned the hard way that I don’t have to consistently take on everything in sight, all at once, to be “successful.” To my personal relief, I discovered the joy that comes in prioritizing, balancing, and focusing on only those matters that are most important at any given time.

No longer do I willingly overschedule myself with a long list of things I "should" be doing. No longer do I feel guilty when people look at me like an alien for choosing not to rush back into working full-time at the moment, a choice I'm fortunate to be able to make financially. Instead, I'm unashamed to be using these post-graduation summer months to travel, including to see my Nana and family out in California, and also to make sure I'm giving myself enough time to thoroughly consider the various career paths, each rewarding in its own way, before me. No longer am I afraid to say no or embarrassed to admit that I take the time to relax, read, hang out, and enjoy some of my favorite things in life, even those that aren't considered to be especially "productive."

How about you? Have you ever battled “crazy busy” syndrome, and what do you think this trend says about our society as a whole?

14 comments:

  1. There was a discussion about this on NPR the other day. I think it's great that you're taking your time figuring out what you want to do next. I think we all need to slow down sometimes.

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  2. I'm excited to read the article. I am sure I fall into the "guilty" category here, since I have been known to lament weekends where I didn't "accomplish" enough. The funny thing is that when I'm drowning in work and obligations, I long for the chance to lie on the beach and just do nothing. Good for you for taking time to yourself. I wish I would have taken time off between college and law school to travel, volunteer and take classes for fun.

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  3. I'm much too lazy to be "crazy busy" for longer than 5 days at a time. I. will. shut. down.
    Have fun being scheduled up with things you love!

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  4. Thanks for posting this, and the link to the article. I'm guilty of being way too busy sometimes, but I always try to at least make time for a full night's sleep and a vacation or two thrown in. Especially at my job though, telling everyone "how busy you are" is definitely a badge of honor, and I wish the company culture were different. Oh well, all the more reason to find balance in my personal life!

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  5. I need to work on my time management and then I won't be so busy

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  6. I agree with what this piece is saying. I too, have overextended myself because that is what I thought I was supposed to do. I have a type A personality, and I am always pushing to get things done. Luckily, my husband is the opposite and has shown me that it is ok to blow off things that I just don't want to do.

    *Erin

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  7. Sounds like an interesting read...and I agree with you about over scheduling ourselves...lately I've been trying to take it real easy because its not worth it at all!

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  8. People totally do that here! I don't stay at work anymore just because people are staying and am trying to take it easy while getting stuff done!

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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  9. I was really busy last year, but not as much this yer. I kind of miss it! Lol

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  10. I skimmed through the article (I'm so busy, I really don't have time to read!) and it reminded me of what I told myself about 6 months ago. It is okay that I over commit and am "too busy" (school+work+house+livingapart+life) but I need to take responsibility for this. I choose to be in this situation. I meet a lot of people who blame others for their busyness. Even if its kids, or pets, or jobs - you choose to do this, now stand up for your choices and make healthy decisions!

    It is so great that you've learned to step back and enjoy life, that is one of my next goals and I'm getting so close to it!

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  11. Loved your post but specially because or your life choices and the fact that you are putting yourself, family and the needed time to choose what you really want and what's important to you.

    I think that being busy and achieving things is good but also it's important to take time and "smell the roses" because if we don't perhaps it might just be too late by the time we want to.

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  12. Even if we are crazy busy, if Kim ever does get that mansion with Mr. Cool and throws that pool party...WE ARE SO GOING. OK back to your post. I have battled crazy busy syndrome for quite some time, first it was working while getting my mba at night. Then it was working, mba, and starting this blog. Then it was building the blog, while working, and trying to find a new job. AHHH! I feel guilty on Saturdays when I lounge around the house doing nothing...but I am SO exhausted by Saturday that if I still kept on going I'd probably go crazy.

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  13. i saw that i would be 'crazy busy' a few weeks a month, but took the time to work more earlier in the month so that there wouldn't be a crazy time.

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  14. This has been a huge topic of conversation in my house this week. My brother who still lives in DC is starting to feel like hes 'not doing enough' compared to his friend's salaries, purchased large engagement rings, cars, house inside the beltway ect. DC definitely about who's got it better and I think it is good that you are taking a step back from it all!

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