March 25 – Busyness

What if one day we just chose not to be busy anymore? What would happen to us then? Busyness is so often a symptom of other problems, such as our disease of workaholism. We keep busy as a means of avoidance and procrastination. Sometimes it becomes necessary to take a step back and analyze our behavior and the motivations behind it. Why are we doing what we do? If we are busy out of necessity that is one thing, but to keep busy just for the sake of it is another altogether.

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On the topic of busyness, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“Have I ever had the courage and security to let my housework go for several years, to see if there was a natural limit to the amount of dirt that accumulated? Nope, and I’m not sure I want to.

Yet, how much of the constant repetitive housework I do is because of my need to keep busy and not because it actually needs to be done?

One of the characteristics of a workaholic is procrastination. Often, our busyness is a subtle form of procrastination that keeps us away from what we really need to be doing.”

It’s funny that Anne mentions procrastination in relation to housework. If there is a problem that is plaguing me, or perhaps a project I want to avoid, my husband can always tell. Suddenly I take up housework in a frenzy of cleaning and before I know it, the house is spotless. Housework makes me feel accomplished and in control. It gives me something to occupy my hands and my mind with, so I can avoid and procrastinate just a little bit longer.

I’ve never been comfortable sitting and doing nothing, even as a child. I recall my dad saying to me during one camping trip that I didn’t know how to relax; I rushed from one activity to another. As an adult, I am no different. If on the weekend I find myself with nothing to do, I take up cleaning or involve myself in a hobby. I’ve been slowly learning how to relax, particularly over the last four years I have lived with my husband. He has been teaching me his laid-back ways. I know I can be a handful with all my abundant energy. My incessant need for busyness keeps me from relaxation and calm as well. Lately I have been making time to do nothing, and when I find the urge for busyness gets to be too much, I channel my energy into fun pursuits such as spending time with friends and family. I might play a game, read a book, cook a meal, or draw and color. Things that bring me joy. All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl after all.

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