A Defense of Being Busy

James Walpole/ February 14, 2019

Being busy has a bad rap these days.

And to be fair, being occupied with lots of tasks has plenty of faults and pitfalls, from overcommitment to lack of focus. And isn’t it insufferable when everyone tells you how “busy” they are (or worse, use it as an excuse?)

But even though the world wants us to take it easier (or buckle down and focus only on the essentials) I still think there’s a case for being busy.

That case depends on the available alternatives.

What the “busy” critics don’t understand is that the choice for many, many people isn’t a choice between frenetic activity and measured, balanced, focused activity.

The choice is between frenetic activity and little activity at all.

As Gary Vaynerchuk frequently chides, most of us go home and waste our hours watching television. Any time we might save for “work-life balance” or time conserved for “focused work” often goes to things that just make us worse people with worse lives.

If the pressure and speed of the state of “being busy” mean we spend 80% less time on video games or complaining or gossiping and 80% more time on tasks that (even marginally) improve ourselves or the world, that’s a good thing.

Sure, it’s not ideal to be working on 10 things at once. And a growth goal should be to achieve focus and prioritization of essentials. But if launching into disordered action is the best we can do, we should go for it.

So get busy! And as I’ve heard parents discover, the introduction of new responsibilities will show the path to prioritization and zen (instead of busy) work in time.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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