I saw this title in Medium – Being ‘Busy’ Doesn’t Mean You’re Successful – and had the feeling that I was going to pretty much agree with the content. And I was right. I’m really not a fan of being busy – Especially of being fake busy or of perceiving busyness as a sign of importance or, as the post mentioned, of success.

I looked back at an older post (from nearly 9 years ago!!). And I’d just like to reiterate some quotes and links. Who knows, maybe 9 years from now, if I happen to be swamped or overwhelmed at work, I’ll need a gentle reminder that there’s more to life than being “busy”.

  • “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry D. Thoreau
  • The Cult of Busy (Mar 2010, Scott Berkun)
  • You’re Only as Busy as You Want Yourself to Be (Jun 2009, Jurgen Appelo)
  • Being ‘Busy’ Doesn’t Mean You’re Successful (Jul 2019, Darius Foroux)
  • Derek Sivers’ notes to “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” by William Irvine
  • “A good man will not waste himself upon mean and discreditable work or be busy merely for the sake of being busy.” – Seneca
  • “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

On being busy, make it worth it

Thank goodness for the long weekend! I have a chance to recharge after a bout of sickness (nothing serious, just something I ate) a couple of days ago, and after several weeks of being quite busy at work. Speaking of busy… (not the smoothest segue, I know)… I’ve been mulling over busy-ness for some time now. Probably because of some tweets and blogs that I’ve yet to digest…

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

Key take-away/s: Be busy with something that produces value.

The cult of busy from Scott Berkun’s blog – “It’s the ability to pause, to reflect, and relax, to let the mind wander, that’s perhaps the true sign of time mastery, for when the mind returns it’s often sharper and more efficient, but most important perhaps, happier than it was before.”

Key take-away/s: Avoid making the excuse “I don’t have time for…”. Spend your time well… including the time that you’ve supposedly saved. Learn to say no. Spreading yourself too thin might just deter you from actually making a contribution.

You’re Only as Busy as You Want Yourself to Be from Jurgen Appelo’s blog

Key take-away/s: The title itself — you’re only as busy as you want yourself to be. Streamline… if you don’t need to do something, then don’t do it.

The case for slack from Markus Gärtner’s blog – “So, what happens when we don’t allow enough time to cope with the learned stuff during courses? The same thing that happens during over-training of muscles. You end up in a downward spiral, where you effectively end up knowing nothing. This is the essence of Rainsberger’s post. Allow slack, and your staff will learn; forbid time to learn and apply what was learned, and your staff will become unproductive – eventually.”

Key take-away/s: Allow for some leeway for (people to adapt to) change. Learning + Slack = Productivity.

“Tenet of professionalism: Work 40 hrs for ur employer & another 20 hrs improving urself. Always increase ur own value.” – unclebobmartin

Key take-away/s: Spend time on improving yourself.