Beyond Busy


My friend Jan posted a question a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since:

How do you respond when someone says, “Wow, you’re so busy.”

It makes me wonder:

  • Do I give off the appearance of being harried or crazed or wiped out or so-incredibly-important-that-I-have-no-time-for-you? (I don’t think so, but – faithful friends – please do me a favor and let me know if I’m sending “I’m constantly overwhelmed” vibes.)
  • Do people expect that we (my colleagues and I) are just hanging out waiting for someone to call or show up?
  • Do men get these comments as often as women? (i.e. Is there a subconscious expectation that female employees should always be available to help?)

I’m about as busy as everyone around me seems to be. But how would you respond to comments like this?  Just curious.

What do you think?

As Tim Kreider writes in “The Busy Trap,” people of a certain class and privilege bring our busyness on ourselves. Folks who are working multiple jobs to make ends meet may talk about being exhausted. But busy has become a status symbol.

I think a lot about the language we use to describe time. Folks who’ve been in my retreats or other gatherings have seen this video:

I’m still on the lookout for language that communicates a sense of fullness but that gets out of the one-upmanship of “busy.” Right now, my schedule is as crowded as it’s ever been. I’ve been calling it my “too muchness.” But it’s not something I take pride in. I mis-estimated my own limits and am working on finding a different rhythm over the summer and into the fall.

Yes, even the author of a book on Sabbath has recalibrate constantly!

What about you? What’s your reaction to “busy”?


photo credit: Cheng I via photopin cc

About MaryAnn

pastor, writer, haphazard knitter
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