I just opened my phone and looked at my text messages. I have almost 70 unread messages. I’m sorry for not responding. For not being a better person, and staying in touch. Sincerely. I think my problem with responding mirrors the problem of so many others. Too busy. It is not that I do not care. I do. I just cannot find the time in the day to respond. How horrible of me.
But, when you get right down to it we are all this way just with different actions. Innovation right now is focused on maximizing our time and creating efficiencies. In short, we are obsessed with outsourcing. We outsource our food. Our bills. Car maintenance. Lawn care. Landscaping. Window washing. Vacation planning.
Life is Easy
We work harder to outsource more things in our lives, because our busy lives means we no longer have the time to do things. Explain the logic to me on that one. Are you even achieving a net positive? Or, what about the time you spend on social media. We are obsessed with our virtual images. Maybe you are too busy to cook dinner because you spend two hours a day on Facebook? No wonder you cannot find the time to follow your dreams. So, ask yourself, are you outsourcing your life because you are too busy from creating new things, or because you are too busy consuming distractions?
Life is busier because we waste more time, not because we have more to do. In fact, when you look at how technology and the progression of humankind has improved our lives we have more free time now than anyone else in the history of humanity has ever had. Think about even the simplest things you do, like getting groceries. First off, there is a place where you can go and get foods from all over the world in one location. You no longer need to grow what you eat, or barter with your neighbors for a sack of flour, or hunt for dinner.
You can hop in your car, not walk or ride a horse, and zip over to the grocery store where you can pick up a prepackaged container of organic chicken breasts conveniently trimmed of fat and pre-washed, grab a few stalks of asparagus, some potatoes, have someone else put your food in a bag for you, and walk out of the store. You are not too busy, you are wasting your time.
Too Busy Syndrome
I’ve noticed a remarkable thing. Those that are busy wasting their time like to talk about how busy they are, while those who are busy are actually too busy to talk about being busy. They are exhausted from working 13 hours a day. They have two jobs, or a few side hustles. They spend their weekends working, not drinking at bars and posting close up photos of cocktails and short video clips dancing at a bar to live music. They do not talk. They do.
Being busy and talking about it is a badge we wear to let other people know that our lives are important. This is like a special club we try to convince each other we are all a part of. “How is your day going?” “Whew, I’m so busy today.” Stop trying to impress yourself and others, and start living. In reality, your life is important but no one cares how busy you are.
Is there a point when we outsource too much? We have so many distractions to prevent us from doing good work, real work, but also from taking the time to remain present in life. These small things we are outsourcing, such things as cooking meals, changing the oil in our car, or mowing our lawn are opportunities for us to pause from our busy existence and find presence in the now.
I’m not telling you to make your life harder, I’m asking you to take a hard look at your consumption of media and distractions and see whether you are trying to evade the responsibility of hard work and pursuing a passion, or whether you really are too busy.
Sometimes I’m too busy to care. Other times I’m busy and take the time out anyway to recognize the now. I need it. We all do. But, instead of recognizing the now through intention we live in the present moment through virtual worlds. We never actually experience reality, but let virtual reality become our lives. This causes us to misappropriate our resources (things like time, patience, health) because of our disillusionment.
I don’t know. Maybe that’s what you want. Maybe you want to be woefully content with your virtual world. Or maybe you want something more. Maybe you want to reclaim your presence in this world and live with meaning, in your life and the lives of others.
If that is true, I challenge you to stop watching television for one month. Read more instead. Limit your time on social media platforms. Spend the time enjoying a creative pursuit or focusing on your health. Count how many times you say “I’m so busy” in a week and then actually sit down and analyze how you spend your time. Are you really busy? Is all this outsourcing necessary?
Or, in outsourcing your life are you outsourcing life itself, the action of living that we all search for in purpose and meaning. Maybe meaning is found in the small moments too. Maybe those small moments represent the glue that holds the rest of our purpose together. Maybe not. You could be different. But, I know that when I stopped consuming, and began creating I stopped being busy and started being actually busy.