Being Busy Isn’t Enough

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” —Thoreau

You’re probably busy. A lot of people are. But the real question is, what are you busy about? What is taking up your time, and—ultimately—is it worth it?

When you realize you’re busy, take a moment to consider what you’re busy about. Doing so can help in a couple ways. First, in those times when you’re busy doing something you find compelling, remembering the importance of what you’re doing can provide additional motivation to keep going.

And second, in those times where this isn’t the case, this realization can act as a prompt for you to clarify in your own mind why you’re so busy in the first place.

For instance, are you trying to do everything because of the fear of missing out? Are you unable to say no because you don’t want to disappoint anyone? Is your busyness an attempt—perhaps unconsciously—to justify your value to yourself and others?

We can all end up busy for a variety of reasons. But being busy in itself is not a badge of honor or a sign of significance. And in some ways it can be deceptive. It can easily keep us from attending to what’s important, all the while giving us a false sense of accomplishment along the way.

So if you find yourself busy, be sure to consider the object of your busyness. Are you busy about something that merits the time and energy you’re giving to it? Or is the busyness a symptom of something deeper that needs your attention?