Career Magazine

Is Your Identity Entwined with How Busy and Important You Are?

Posted on the 08 May 2014 by Rebecca_sands @Rebecca_Sands

Woman working on Daily Inspiration Board

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re so busy that you don’t even know who you are any more without stimulus, and stopping to spend some time doing nothing is actually quite disconcerting? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us feel the need to be constantly entertained – myself included. The most motionless I get during my waking hours is during yoga or listening to guided meditations. Simply stopping and relaxing just for the sake of it seems extremely daunting.

It’s dawned on me recently that whenever people ask me how I am when I haven’t seen them for a while, I always say that I’ve been really busy.

Although it’s usually pretty busy, there’s a million other ways I could use to define my life. How about “doing heaps of stuff with friends and hanging out with my kitten” or “working and doing yoga” or “having loads of dinner parties” or even “planning my holiday for the end of the year” (I’m going to New York for New Year’s with friends and then on a trip through Iceland with my boyfriend Andres!).

There’s a lot of ways that I could define what I’ve been up to, but I always seem to resort back to how busy I am. I guess when I really think about it, being busy has defined my adult life. If I’m not busy, what am I doing? It feels like if I’m not full to the brim with activities that achieve an end goal then I’m wasting my time.

I wonder sometimes what would happen if I were to take away the busyness. If I were to stop for a while, who would I be? What would I think about if I weren’t constantly on deadline? How would I define my days?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians spend on average 8 hours and 47 minutes a day on leisure and free-time activities. Does this surprise you? It certainly does for me. I wonder whether we have all become so focused on how busy we are that we forget about the free time we do have? Is it just a matter of shifting our focus and saying to ourselves each morning that we have hours of free time ahead of us? It’s certainly a different way to think about things.

I don’t think being busy is a bad thing, but I wonder whether we need to put more emphasis on our leisure time and take more moments to simply be still – with no end goal.

Do you find yourself consistently mentioning how busy you are when people ask how you’ve been?  


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