Last week in the New York Times–or maybe it was the week before, I don’t know, I’m too busy to remember–there was a great op-ed about “the busy trap.” This piece highlighted what I’m sure all of you experience either personally or vicariously through chatty co-workers which is “self-imposed busyness.” These are the people who are always soo busy and can’t seem to find the time to do anything except work or take special classes or work some more. They’re the type of people you have to book months in advance just to have a cup of coffee with. They are addicted to being busy because they’re afraid of what might happen if they were not busy.
I am completely guilty of falling into “the busy trap.” When I’m not at work or working on something, I feel guilty. On days off of work, I constantly feel like I should be doing something to better myself–reading, writing, exercising, exploring the city, attending “events” (which are more of an abstract concept), spending time with dear friends, writing letters to penpals, reading periodicals cover to cover, networking, learning new things, cooking a recipe from Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking. I never quite feel that it’s okay for me to kick up my heels and enjoy a good movie or spend the entire day at the beach. There’s so much else I should be doing!
Recently, I caught myself giving my friend the “I’m so busy” excuse for not being able to hang out more often. We’ve lived apart for so long and now that we’re both finally in Manhattan, it should be so easy for us to get together for coffee or a glass of champagne, or a walk through Central Park, a centrally located park between our respective Upper West Side and Upper East Side residences. She even pointed out that she walks by my apartment almost every day to get to her gym. However, I haven’t seen her in months. Why? Because I’m working and when I’m not working I’m resting and when I’m not resting I’m blogging and when I’m not blogging I’m eating and then I’m working late and I’m catching a drink with co-workers and blah blah blah and suddenly five months have gone by and—this is just ridiculous.
However, there are days when I don’t let “the busy trap” get the best of me and I indulge in my guilty pleasure of doing nothing and when I do, it feels so good. Laying in bed until noon, eating a late brunch, watching movies, laughing. Why can’t this be the norm? There has got to be a way to find a happy medium between “the busy trap” and “the do-nothing trap.”
The good news is that there is a happy medium between the two extremes and that is finding work-life balance. The bad news is that I haven’t found that happy medium just yet, but I am working on it. Maybe if I wasn’t so busy I could just find this balance.