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I Refuse To Keep Being Busy

Ask a couple of your friends how they’ve been and you might be lucky enough to be answered the same day. They will tell you that they are busy, they have a lot of things to do. And if they don’t answer you, you will assume the same thing: they are busy, they have a lot of things to do.

Almost everyone I know is busy and is complaining about being busy. When they don’t have a busy schedule, they feel bad because they don’t have a busy schedule. So, they end up paying money to fill their schedule with various activities that seem to be relaxing. Even a holiday makes us stressed: scheduling it for one, and then the absence for which we are going to pay many weeks afterwards. But it’s not like we want to live like this; we rather force ourselves into it, through the parallel life we build, in order to be busy and to make it seem like we are busy.

We wake up early in the morning and we want a little bit of time for ourselves – we work out or we read; or we don’t do anything, because we don’t have the time. Then, we take the kid to school. There’s a lot of traffic, the road is hellish. We are late for school, late for work, late for an early meeting set in the morning precisely for being late. And if we don’t take the kid to school, we are still late, due to traffic or because we overslept: we worked until late at night. And we complain that we have meetings all day long and we don’t have any time for anything else, we complain that we waste time in traffic, and that we wait in long lines. And we are tired.

A few years ago, I was pretending to be busy until I truly became busy. I realised that it looked good to seem busy, so I started doing as many things I could at once. The first step was getting a job that would keep me busy in the 8 working hours. Then, I looked for a job that would force me to be connected non-stop. I called it a “dynamic” job in a similar industry. But I wasn’t so busy that I would completely vanish from my own life, so I found some things to work on next to my job: projects, hobbies and “relaxing” activities, which I start planning two months ahead.

I became that friend who doesn’t answer when you ask him out for a beer. Instead, I will answer your text a week late, apologizing and suggesting we reschedule. So, a spontaneous invitation becomes a box in my calendar which I am going to move at a certain point anyway. That is where I squeeze in my life, my days and hours. And I complain about being busy, so tired. I am tired, so I am a “successful” person.

But I have a bold plan for a busy man: after work, I get home and do nothing. I want to be lazy. If I want, I start watching a new series on Netflix without remorse that I am not doing anything of value to my life or to society. Or I accept a spontaneous invitation to town without considering that the next day I have to go to the office. Or I simply look up at my ceiling. And if needed, I will add this to my schedule: “One hour of staring at the ceiling”. Which is what I wish for you as well: to do exactly what you feel like doing in the time you have left, without remorse that you aren’t doing anything “worth mentioning”. Become lazy and set aside for yourselves, if needed, some time to do nothing.

Inspiration comes when we rest our brains. Let me cut to the chase here: it comes when we are lazy and don’t focus our attention on a certain activity. No matter what field we work in or no matter what kind of life we want, it is necessary to be a little bit lazy and to take some activities off our lives in order to effectively do nothing.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

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