Why No One Wins An “I’m So Busy” Competition

I will never forget the night I was out for cocktails with a group of close girlfriends when suddenly we found ourselves embroiled in a “busy”-off:

“I am trying to manage a full-time job, my 2 kids are in rep hockey and my husband is travelling for work.”

“Oh yah – well I’m starting my own business, I’ve got a 3 active children, I’m nursing a baby and I have volunteer commitments.”

“That’s nothing – I’ve been travelling all over the country for my career, I’m still organizing my kids schedules and I’m taking a course online!”

We were actually trying to one-up each other as to who was the most frazzled and run ragged. And as crazy as it sounds, I’d be willing to bet that you have had similar conversations with your friends and loved ones – it seems we often connect with each other by comparing war stories about our busy lives.

I’m just as guilty of this as the next person- this compulsive desire to wear our busy-ness as a flashing neon sign. It’s almost as if pushing ourselves to the point of complete overwhelm is somehow the gold standard – an ideal to proud of and bragged about. And the person who might actually have some (gulp) “free” time is often teased for their lack of get-up-and-go “what the heck do you do all day?” “How on earth do you ever find the time to write (or draw or go for a long walk or put your feet up with a good book?)” And have you ever noticed that the most common answer you get when you ask how someone is doing is “Busy!”

And what about down time? Can we really relax and enjoy the present moment? All too often when I am attempting to unwind by playing with my family, sipping a glass of wine with a girlfriend or treating myself to a pedicure- my mind will simultaneously be spinning with things I’ve got to get done afterwards.


I recently had the opportunity to enjoy some lovely and truly relaxing down time at St. Anne’s Spa and I happened upon a fascinating article while I was lounging around in my robe that really struck a chord. Brigid Schulte gave an interview in the Globe & Mail newspaper about her new book called “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has Time“. It’s a wonderfully thought-provoking interview and a must-read.

When it comes to the issue of leisure, Schulte says:

What is it about having open space on the calendar? It’s the one thing we say we want, but what’s become so clear in North America is that we are not only work-focused, we are work-devoted.

In the ’30, ’40s and ’50s, philosophers, economists and some of the greatest thinkers of the age described an era not far off when everybody would have so much leisure time: We’d only work 30 hours a week, four days a week, maybe half the year. Some were worried about that – what would we do to fill the time? Others believed it would be the next great advancement in human civilization: the things we could invent, the art we could create, the time we could spend with other people making relationships richer and life better.

Well what happened then? Why is it that we value work so much? If we don’t value leisure, or if we treat leisure as a time to ‘rest up’ so we’re better at our work, we’ve really lost the point of living.

So in the spirit of being a bit less busy and a bit more leisurely, why don’t you pour yourself a hot cup of tea, put your feet up and take 10 minutes to read this brilliant article about the importance of leisure. It just might make you think differently about the importance of freeing up some time on your schedule.

Follow this link to read the article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/too-busy-to-live-in-a-contemporary-world/article17758066/?page=all



11 thoughts on “Why No One Wins An “I’m So Busy” Competition

  1. Wow Lori, how did you get so smart so early? Excellent reminder & I will take this with me today, making it a leisurely, mindful, present moment kind of day. Hope your day is the same & happy Easter to you and your family. Connie

  2. Oh boy, thank you for this. It’s another reminder to be careful with my words and also, to not think that I earn an A+ if my calendar is full and I can’t breathe. And on that note, I’m going to yoga at noon today and I’m proud to say that I might just lie there for a few extra minutes at the end!

  3. I’d love to Lori, but I don’t have time! 🙂
    I saw this article as well and it had a profound effect on me – to the point of swinging like a pendulum to thinking retire NOW! Once my senses and reminders of my bank account set in I was left with a quiet mission to do less and guard my weekends. Being an entrepreneur, I can rationalize doing desk work in what would normally be seen as ‘down time’. Glad you are sharing this important message.
    hugs, beverley

    1. Ha! but I thought you always had time for me ; )
      Speaking for parents everywhere – I sincerely hope I’m not the reason you decide to retire! We still need you!
      Thanks for weighing in and sharing your thoughts. I hope you are grabbing a quiet moment on this lovely day.

  4. a good observation and a helpful interview! thanks for finding and for sharing it, lori!

    there is a change of mindset going on about it right now. more life, less tangle.
    even mrs. huffington has whipped up a book – it’s called thrive and is all over twitter 🙂
    I think it really is important. of course, sometimes the schedule does get clogged up, and shizzle hits the fan… but it’s vital to stop *hiding* behind it.


  5. “Busy” is the buzzword of modern life, that’s for sure!! And I think we sacrifice a lot for it too. I’m currently reading “Salt Sugar Fat” by Michael Moss, and one of the things he talks about is how unhealthy we eat because we don’t spend the time to cook anymore. He goes on to talk about how this has allowed big food companies to create and sell us unhealthy convenience foods. So now we’re not only busy, but we’re generally fatter and sicker as well. Wonderful post chica! Celeste 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Celeste! I must read that book – it sounds interesting. It seems to be a big busy downward spiral doesn’t it? But it seems that awareness around the frenetic pace of our lives is growing and change is starting to occur. Hopefully we all learn to slow down and savour the moments instead of racing through them.
      As always – I appreciate your support!

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