I think the word of the
day, week, month, life is BUSY. Don’t you agree? In the spirit of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, let’s all have a good scream at the word BUSY….Bawaaaaaa!!!!
As a 30-year old gal in the world we live in today, I feel a constant pressure to be busy (Bawaaaaa!!). The world has told me that if I’m not maintaining a level of activity that is just outside the realm of manageable, I’m wasting time.
Why? Well, I kind of blame Oprah. It’s really all her fault. When I was in college, she said a word that changed me. One little world that alerted me to the fact that I was falling behind in the race of life. Upon hearing the word, I realized that I should no longer concentrate on one thing at a time, I should ‘multi-task.’ Oh, Oprah. She praised this crazy concept (that goes a little beyond walking and chewing gum at the same time) in a way that made me say,
I want I HAVE to do it ALL.
So, it was no longer acceptable to be good at just one thing nor was it acceptable to do only that one thing without simultaneously completing something else. At this point in my young adulthood, it was decided that I could be excellent at multiple things AND do them concurrently. I, and all other women, could multi-task.
Years later, I’m surrounded by fascinating women who seem to be able to do it all. And by do it all I don’t just mean work and raise a family. I mean, work, raise a family, workout, stay fashionable, be pleasant, maintain a social life, volunteer for multiple philanthropies, and partake in some kind of creative outlet or activity that often makes you stop and marvel at them. Truly, amazing multi-taskers. And, without patting myself on the back, I’m one of them.
I crave being busy (Bawaaaaaaa!!!!). When friends go on about their plethora of activity, stress, tiredness, and never-ending task list, a pang of jealousy strikes. Jealousy…I’m serious. So, I add something to my own plate in effort to keep up. I pile on more “To Do” in an effort to not have such an easy, relaxing life, so next time I can win the, “but I’m more tired,” contest.
Wait a minute, so I can win what?
As I get up at 5:30am to write a Monday morning post after a Sunday of reading at church, visiting grandparents, and shampooing all of the carpets my house, I watch the minutes escape before my hour-long commute and think, is this all worth it? By multi-tasking, by adding all these activities, what exactly am I ‘winning’ here?
Remember the days when you just sat and read a book? Wasn’t that nice? Today you likely read a book while working out, over your lunch break, and compulsively checking email every 5 minutes. Sure, thanks to multi-tasking, we can get a heck of a lot more done but sometimes I have to remind myself that maybe this compounding approach to living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Maybe being insanely busy 8 days a week isn’t having it all. Maybe we should take a day, an hour, or even just ten minutes to sit back and do just one thing that we really like to do…which might be nothing at all.
The next few weeks are my busiest of the whole year and by writing this post (out of overwhelming exhaustion) I am reminding myself to take time to relax. And I challenge you all to do the same.
You know you want a challenge, you know you crave that one more thing to add to your list, so make it something that’ll let you relax for just a few minutes. Maybe it’s reading, and only reading, after you’ve put your kids to bed. Or maybe it’s watching one of the ten episodes of 30 Rock you have built up in your DVR that you’re saving for your mythical free time.
I find that during our busiest times, taking a couple of minutes (although it may seem counter-productive) and doing only one thing that relaxes you goes a lot farther than half-ass-multi-tasking to get your “To Do” list done. Take a little snippet of time to relax, then tackle that list with a clear head, recharged strength, and enjoy the tasks at hand. We can do, literally, everything else. Let’s make sure we take a minute to enjoy it along the way.