Being Too Busy

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
― Socrates

Busy – So damned busy!  It seems like everyone I speak to  recently is saying the same thing. Too damned busy. Argggghhh! The way it manifests for me is that I feel chaos in my brain.  I feel like there isn’t enough room in my brain for everything that I need to keep track of. I keep telling people that I wish I had that little tool that Dumbledore used in Harry Potter, the pensieve. Well not the pensieve itself, which is the shallow stone or metal basin used to review memories; but instead the tool, the little crochet hook thing itself that Dumbledore uses to take the thoughts and memories out of his head. He explains:

I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links.

I’m not as concerned with the patterns and links, but mostly just to extract the excess chaos out of my head!

With this in mind, I was touched by the latest article in Daily Good: The Disease of Being Busy.

How did we get so busy that we no longer have time for each other? What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

I love the way the writer, Omid Safi,  explains about haal

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

I want to remember this the next time someone asks me how I am doing. I do not want to go into a litany about how insanely busy I am these days. I will try to remember to answer from a place of how my heart is doing at that very moment. And when I ask people about how they are, I will hope they can tell me something about their own heart and soul.

But is there anything that we can do to avoid this avalance of busyness?  In this short video –  I feel too busy! How can we get out of this busyness trap? Oliver Burkeman gives us some ideas.  The one that resonated with me is to make sure that we choose what’s important, and to schedule time for the stuff that fills us up instead of continuing to do what depletes us.

It will never all get done, so until I find that elusive pensieve tool, I shall endeavor to make time for the things I love and choose what’s important!



I’d love to hear how you avoid the busyness trap. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.


23 thoughts on “Being Too Busy

  1. Well, there are times when one is only busy with real health issues. These are full time struggles with pain and medication side effects. Just feeling very bad at the moment: I as if cannot discontinue one of these pills, but it literally causes pancreas attack.
    I would say: I am longing so much for being busy with regular life matters, something to look forward, something other than just a doctor’s appointment. Still minimum 6 weeks. Oh well, I am envious because I know how bad we feel when we have many things on the go, and it is stress and troubles, but still these troubles are so much better.
    I suppose, one truth will never suit everybody.
    I enjoyed reading your article, just the pain was a bit disturbing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your response Inese. I’m so sorry you are in such pain. That level of pain just clouds any other issue. I do hope you are feeling better and less pain soon. I also hope that your incredible creativity and art help you in times of pain.
      Thank you again for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.


  2. Dear Patti,
    I’m very touching for this reflexion.
    I think is very important to take time for importants thinks. Family, friends, personal and social activities are very importants and we needj take time to do personally.
    Best regards from Belgium,
    José Pastor

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Jose – I am so very touched that you took the time to comment on this post. And I agree completely! It is so very important, to take this time for family and people we love.
      And speaking of people we love – I love your daughter! She make my son so happy – and what more could a mother ask for! You have raised a magnificent woman!
      I look forward to meeting you and the rest of your family very soon I hope.
      Very best regards,


  3. That was a good one! So timely! I have been so busy the last few weeks I haven’t been to the physical therapist for my car accident injury and today my back seized up in spasms. Had I just spoken up and said no a couple times, I would have been able to go, taken better care of myself and not rummaging through my nightstand now for pain pills.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post and interesting topic. Busyness in my head threatens my equilibrium and my speech…which can cause me to toss in curse words to express my inability to express myself. I bump into things incurring bruises I can’t for the life of me remember how they got there. Feeling swallowed whole, I retreat to my bed with books, quiet, silence and tea. The longer I can remain in this restorative state the better for everyone. It’s coming out of this cocoon that begins to cause me trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I avoid being busy or non-idle by being idle. It’s that simple for me, but some steps I take are placing my phone away from me inside my apartment, not linking work email to my phone, completely disengaging from all social media (except WP blogs) as it tends to severely deplete me and makes my attention span wither. I make time for physical activity every other night (rock climbing), and I allow myself decompression time. Recently, I watch the Olympics. I hate watching TV, generally, but the Olympics are inspiring, so I don’t beat myself up over it. I don’t beat myself up over alone time or loneliness as much as I used to either, so the need to fill my down time with something to do is just replaced by being grateful for having a very simplistic moment to myself. And during that moment, I do try to engage the world through breathing and sometimes music. I sound like some sort of guru, but I know what you mean – I feel mentally attacked at times with all the media shoved down my throat at every hour of every day. I take steps to remove myself. I’ll even hit mute during commercials and look away from the TV until they are over. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I took a course called Lifehack Bootcamp, which really helped me realign my priorities. The bootcamp’s biggest gift was learning how to spend my time in areas that matter to me, rather than taking on a million tasks and always “being busy” when something good comes along. There is a very thick practical layer – tech tools, routines, and mental adjustments that help me manage my time. But there is also a deep spiritual layer – focused on the importance of identifying and prioritizing my values. Example: my son is attending summer camps pretty much all summer because we both work full time. One of his classmates invited us to go swimming this coming Monday afternoon. The old me would have said, sorry – busy. But the new me thought for a moment and decided that there is real value in creating a swimming memory out of a summer afternoon. And I am making arrangements to take him swimming.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on femidadaadedina and commented:
    Being busy can mean going in circles and running on the spot without attendant progress. The frenetic pace of this present world had taken out of us the ability to listen, touch , be caught up in wonder and being compassionate and emphatic. What have we replaced these with? Hatred and discrimination

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Human nature tends to want to do lot of things at same time even the ones that are less important and we can do off with.We as humans should prioritize our needs and always make time for our overall wellbeing and family because “BEING TOO BUSY” may be “dangerous” at a certain point.

    Liked by 2 people

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