Some people love to be busy, some like to look busy, and some would prefer the notion didn’t exist.
There’s nothing wrong with any of the above, particularly when we consider Shakespeare’s statement “nothing is right or wrong, thinking makes it so,” however it is interesting to analyse the different ways in which people approach life.
I’ve encountered plenty of those who like to look busy. You know the type that races around, always looking stressed and pressed for time. They are constantly chasing their tails. There’s something about the manic energy these people exude that make everyone around them feel a little stressed. They sweep though leaving everyone around them feeling a little bewildered. Imagine what that is doing to their own health…being in a constant state of tension is not just uncomfortable, it’s unhealthy.
Sometimes I think these people actually really believe they are busy but when you break it down, they are probably getting very little done. Their attention is scattered because they are thinking about the next task rather than focusing on the one at hand meaning they’ll likely make mistakes that will take more time to be rectified. Prioritising has also probably gone out the window because they are just ‘so busy’ that they don’t have time to set a schedule that will allow them to efficiently attack every task in order of importance.
Not only are they getting little done, they are so far removed from the present moment. In their wild, chaotic state they are missing the moment, the most precious thing there is. They are so wrapped up in what comes next that they are missing what is happening here and now.
Surrounding yourself with people like this can be unnerving and doesn’t do your own energy any good. If it’s in a workplace or it’s a family member who is unwilling to work on their erratic approach to life, and you have little choice but to put up with the madness, then there are certain tactics you can employ to detach from it (I’ll be asking Mum to post on this topic in the next few weeks as it is such an important skill to be able to protect yourself from surrounding negativity). If it’s someone that is willing to listen, or it is you who is resonating with this, then implementing regular mindfulness practices is extremely valuable.
So then you’ve got people who love to be busy, like myself and then there are people who take it up a notch like the wacky entrepreneurs who work 100 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else. I’ve listened to a few podcasts lately featuring interviews with this kind of entrepreneur. They differ to the type of person we have discussed above in that they are highly efficient. They are efficient in that they manage their tasks effectively and get an awful lot done, but they have so many tasks that it takes them 14 hours a day seven days a week to get through them. Their bank accounts are looking great, and they have an incredible sense of satisfaction – assuming this is really what gets them excited – but to me I have to ask, where’s the balance and what are they sacrificing?
Then you’ve got those who struggle to get through a quarter of the amount of work of the over-zealous entrepreneurs because they either lack the energy, the drive or the inclination. Although perhaps it’s not a lack, perhaps their motivating forces are just different and they see quality of life as being able to relax and just be.
Once again, let me clarify that at no point am I sitting in judgement, merely analysing what makes people tick and thinking about how people with different approaches to life can learn from each other.
So if the person with the manic energy and the extreme entrepreneur can take a little inspiration from the person who likes to move a little slower, the result could be pretty powerful.
I talk a lot about time management, routine, scheduling and prioritising, but if your energy is all over the place and you are unable to focus and be present, or you are always going full throttle you’ll burn out and none of the above will help you to stay on track for the long term.
Being still for an extended period of time will probably be quite difficult for the person who likes to go, go, go the and it may make them feel agitated as they are so used to buzzing around with scattered thoughts flying through their heads. Starting off with 15 minutes of ‘quiet time’ is great. Some of the techniques explained in the Meditation 101 post, particularly staring at a candle flame, help you to learn to direct your focus and there’s something really calming about a flickering flame.
As I said, everyone’s approach to life is different and there is no right or wrong but some people are certainly more efficient and successful and happy than others, and if these are things that you aspire to, then taking a leaf out of the book of those who embody these things can only help you in your quest to achieve a fulfilled life.