By: Brianne Hogan, Guest Blogger
Last night, I was trying to finish a rather boring book since last autumn. Almost every night for the last three months, I’ve reluctantly grabbed this boring book all the while muttering, “Okay, let’s try this again.” Suffice it to say, I’ve been torturing myself for weeks and weeks to finish this stupid book. Why? Why can’t I just Zen out and go to sleep and just be done with it? Well, that’s a very good question. I asked myself the same as I trudged through a paragraph, skimming most of it and skipping ahead to the next (as I usually do).
I think it’s because I’ve always been a doer and a finish-er. I like to say that I’m “doing” something. I’m not one who can easily veg out in front of Netflix for days on end. Don’t get me wrong: I love Netflix. But after a few hours, I soon become antsy. I’ll want to take a walk or write, or, yes, read. I thrive on the feeling of accomplishment and utility. That, and I’m also a type-A personality. This explains why my actions must almost always be completed, including everything from the most frivolous (like seeing to the end of a dumb movie) to the most severe (enduring a toxic relationship to its inevitable bitter demise). Here’s my hard truth: I might be addicted to busyness.
Busyness is important if it’s actually putting you on track to accomplish your dreams and desires – the things that make you feel good. But if your busyness is draining your energy, it can also be a big fat waste of time.
I’ve realized that I no longer want to be busy every second of every day, particularly during the last hour before bedtime. And I also don’t want to feel the need to finish everything, especially if it sucks, and most especially if it sucks the life out of me.
So, I threw the book away. Well, I didn’t throw it away in the trash, but I did throw it on the floor quite deliberately and forcefully. As I did, I said, “No more!” People who are addicted to busyness have a problem with saying no, but I have to admit that it felt really good to do so. My saying no to that book was small, but it was also significant. By saying “No” I was actually saying, “Yes” to only the things that light me up; the things that make me feel whole and free and energized.
My refusal to continue reading that book has now opened up another hour for me to do…whatever it is that my heart begs me to do. Journaling? Meditating? Sleeping?
Of course, I’m not stopping there. I’m now choosing to filter through things that I habitually do during my day to weigh their significance on my life, goals and overall happiness. The things that will remain are those that make me feel joyful and enthusiastic. If anything is as boring and taxing as that book was to me, then – boom! Into the trash (or onto the floor) it goes. It no longer has room in my life. This goes for everyday tasks, work projects, social engagements, and, yes, even my Netflix queue.
It often seems like it’s a good thing to be constantly occupied, needed and “in the know,” but it’s important to remember that your time is precious. It should be dedicated to everything and anything that makes you clear, connected and content. The cool thing is, once you begin clearing space for what truly gets that fire in your belly going, you end up doing more with a lot less on your plate.
And to a person who’s addicted to busyness, there’s nothing better than efficiency.
Brianne is a writer based in Toronto. Her instincts and love of adventure have led her to interesting jobs (grass cutter and wine seller, to name a few), as well long-terms stays in beautiful cities (New York City, Vancouver and Florence). Follow Brianne on Twitter: www.twitter.com/briannehogan & check out more on Tumblr briannehogan.tumblr.com