My View on Avoiding The Busy Trap


In his article, “The ‘Busy’ Trap”,  Tim Kreider mentions the ways in which NYC friends have managed to be too busy to enjoy life, but also how being busy is something we’ve gotten used to being our response to obligations we wish to escape.  Ironically, Tim escaped “busyness” to write this article!

Although I agree with the following quote:

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

There is more to the choice of not being busy.  I think the way we spend that time is important too.  These past few weeks I’ve intentionally spent time at home to observe/listen to my housemate and learn more about life of those who are trying to escape the ‘busy trap’ or maybe also organize themselves before returning to old or fresh projects.  This break seems to be very beneficial for my creative juices.

I’ve learned a lot about philosophy, human interactions, and the power of music from these weeks of self-reflection and listening.  Listening is something that as journalists we are meant to be doing a lot, but tend to also start to hate doing when the world around us becomes more and more full of self-congratulatory sorts.  Networking events are exciting when I first enter a new “network” or tribe, but after a few months of being in the tribe and getting more aware of the niche/topics that are interesting to those involved in the particular network/tribe, I get tired of hearing stories of those who are wishing to constantly have conversations be about their work.  Some of the most interesting people are those I’ve met walking, hailing cabs, in cues for lunch, or meetups based on intellectual needs.

Lately, I have been thinking about things such as “how much does being important matter to me?”,  “What role am I willing to play in the lives of others and that of solving the big issues that society faces?”, “What do I want to focus on for the future, as in does money matter more than love, or is their some balance that I wish to do for the needs of getting the lifestyle I desire?”, “What role does culture play in my generation and are others craving to create value over just having a job?”, and “How do I cultivate my strengths towards a lifestyle that works for me in the long run?”…Plus, a question for an idea I am craving to comprehend, “How can I help create innovative media that fosters crticial thinking and value for culture (again)?”

Having time to think about what you want, or to be more creative is essential, but I do agree with one of the commentators around the need to be busy at times for long term benefits. Being genuinely busy for creating something that might later make you have time to be genuinely less busy and appreciate it, is also great.  Not everyone who is busy wants to be it to avoid the quiet times or have space to think.  There are many who want to work hard and spend a few hours of their time being just around their core friends to maybe get a better idea of what they wish to do when the busyness is less.

I suppose Tim’s main point is, don’t avoid the time that you are able to be not busy.  The busy trap can consume some of us. I’m one of those who is currently avoiding the busy trap and learning a lot from it. I think it has inspired the next article you’ll read from me.

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