Competitive busyness doesn’t feel healthy

Round & About

Robbie James says “we’re all busy” but don’t use that as an excuse when there’s more to it

We’re fast approaching spring. Daffodils are blooming (although they bloomed early this year according to Monty Don), we’re unsure when the clocks change (31st March), and the BRITs are behind us (I love Raye). I’m meeting this sense of optimism with a rant about busyness. Not necessarily being busy, but telling me about it. Hope you’re ok with being my sounding board?

I know you’re busy. You know how I know? Because we’re all busy. We are all trying to cope with a cost of living crisis whilst ensuring we’ve done our steps for the day, posted our perfectly poached eggs on Instagram, charged our Apple Watch, got our kids a fancy dress outfit for a ninth birthday party on Saturday, ordered a HelloFresh, and kept up with the day-by-day depressing news. It’s a lot.

There was a study conducted by Harvard Business School which discovered that responding with ‘’sorry I’m just too busy’’ to a social or professional invitation was the least trustworthy response you could give.

I also don’t know when it became a thing to be passively-aggressively competitive when it comes to how busy we are and who is the most tired; but it can’t be excellent for our already drained brains.

Unless you were one of our old friends, a key worker during the pandemic, the one positive from those few years of sadness was that it allowed us to slow down because we literally had nothing to do. We were forced to not be in a rush. A Monday consisting of two walks and a game of Monopoly would be categorised as a ‘hectic day’.

I’m not saying we’re not allowed to be busy. As a terrible saying goes…whatever floats your boat. I do worry about obligatory busyness though. I’m definitely not the only one who forces themselves to be busy when they don’t have to be. As a man who has weekdays off, I often don’t really enjoy them. The world isn’t in ‘fun mode’ like it is at the weekend, and I feel guilty laying in or being in the pub by three o’clock.

My second caveat is that being career driven is great, and we live in a country where we’re able to have loads of opportunities, but let’s normalise being busy because it’s no longer a talking point. It’s a completely standard way of living which offers nothing particularly interesting to a conversation. It should be more of a talking point if you’re not busy.

It’s also another sign that we still struggle to open up to one another, especially men. How often have we bought our Guinness to feel masculine (I do actually love Guinness but I’m trying to make a point), nestled ourselves into the corner of the pub and began with…’’Alright mate? How’s things?’’…followed by, ’’yeah good, just busy mate, so busy at work’’. Sigh. It’s like a gentle way of saying you’re drained, exhausted, and maybe a bit sad, without actually saying it. Imagine if you actually did admit to feeling that way…you’d be on minus lad points. So there you go. Oh, actually whilst I’m here venting about everything (I’ve enjoyed today’s therapy session, thank you), let’s stop with saying that everything is an ‘’ick’’. It’s a conditioning tool to close ourselves off to certain people and I think that’s sad and unkind. Ok ok, I’m done now. I’ll write about something ultra positive next month like my new CrossFit plan