By Ally Moors, Creative Coordinator, Fall 2019
I haven’t always been a very busy person, and I’m still not always a busy person. But, like most people, there are days, even weeks sometimes, where there are more things to do than there are hours in the day. I used to resent these times—I felt like something was being taken away from me. Eventually, I tasked myself with being more positive in my daily life, hoping to make small changes by switching up my perspective on things. That’s when I realized where I was going wrong with the way I looked at being busy. The broken windows theory began to take hold. I treated work like a bad thing, so it tricked my brain into classifying it as a bad thing, which made doing it that much harder. But when I switched up the routine and tried telling myself that this work is necessary and I need to be putting maximum effort in, the routine switched me up by turning from being something I resented to something I spent all day obsessing about. The only thing that’s worse for you than resenting work is fearing work. So, I learned to stop worrying and love the busy schedule…
Learning to love being busy can be tasking. It’s not going to happen all at once, especially if you’re like me and built up a disdain towards shrinking amounts of free time. It’s a change of habit and mindset, in the same way that conditioning yourself to get up and go to the gym before class in the morning is a slow change of habit and mindset. To help get you ready to embrace how much time you don’t have in a day, let’s break down some different ways we can think about being busy:
Less Time, Healthier Mind
According to this article by Smithsonian Magazine, studies are springing up around the country to study the correlation between cognitive performance and being a busy person. While it doesn’t appear there’s anything particularly conclusive yet, some early rounds of testing are showing that adults who consider themselves to be busy, measured by survey questions like “How often do you have so many things to do in a day that you can’t get them all done?” perform better cognitively. So the next time you feel swamped and you’re wondering why you’re doing any of this, try firing back at your own doubts with some reassurance! Being busy often means things like multitasking, time management, efficient planning, all of which are exercising your cognitive functions. You’re not just checking off your to-do list, you’re taking your brain to the gym!
You Wouldn’t Be Busy If You Weren’t Valued
This one’s really done the trick for me, so I hope it can help another. When you’re crying for help from the bottom of a pile of responsibilities, it can be easy to lose sight of what the whole point is. You’re tired, you’re burnt out, you’re hungry, and you’ve still got things to do? It must be because someone really wants you to do it. Remember- you wouldn’t be assigned projects if your boss didn’t love what you created as a result. You wouldn’t be asked to help on an assignment if the coworker asking didn’t see you as a talented, capable worker. You might see the work as a nuisance, but maybe you can interpret it more like a compliment. Viewing your to-do list as a reminder that you’re hardworking, passionate, and a valued part of a team helps put some self-affirming purpose behind those long hours and keyboard wrist cramps.
Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to these things. I encourage you to take these suggestions and make them your own, speak to yourself however you need to hear it in order to change your perspective on your busy schedule. The biggest takeaway is this: work doesn’t always have to be work. If it’s becoming overwhelming, take a step back, and consider what being busy really is. What it really does for you. Chances are, you’ll realize there’s a silver lining to everything.