Changing the narrative around being busy
Too often do we hear the “Dude, I’m so busy at the moment”
COVID-19 has spotlighted how naturally individuals can fall into the trap of being busy over the course of a day, week, and now what is looking more like month(s). It comes to us naturally, to fit in random activities and tasks under the ‘work’ umbrella. Looking back on last week in comparison to this one, I have seen a distinct uplift in the more valuable work I have been able to arrange my calendar to.
At this point in quarantine, these jobs saw me assisting as the ‘lifter’ in not-so-easy house chores, learning the fundamentals of dog training, prioritizing June assessments, and evaluating my uncertain placement of my Masters in London. Not to mention standard inherent ‘busysing’ tasks like hobbies, keeping with the latest gossip and self-improvement viz. podcasts and Udemy. Just punching these singular jobs into my calendar, I saw myself incur slumps in productivity and overall focus on the task that I should be attending to. Mood-swings took up a regular occurrence and as a result, tasks would fall on the all-taking back-burner.
It came to a point where I would silence whatever calendar notification that arose.
Productive tasks differ from busying tasks in value gained and influence resonated outward from completing that task. These productive tasks vary from individual to individual, weighted by one's prioritization amongst other variables.
For myself, one productive task I find is writing. To whatever length or purpose, writing sets myself in a greater position to perform my best at a later task. This takes the form of morning journalling, where I empty my brain of the thoughts brought about from the night or early morning. For me, having a medium where I can clear my head and clarify exactly what these nagging thoughts are is of incredible value to my well-being and subsequent mental health. At the same time, I do not neglect busying tasks entirely.
I characterize tasks as ‘busy’ as those that demand attention but not to an obvious positive outcome. Case in point, washing the plates, cars, driveway, dogs, younger siblings, or clothes. Were I to have the option, I would happily swap out these tasks to that of a productive one.
Having this distinction enables me to slot into my daily calendar both types of work. In this way, I come to the end of the day knowing full well what tasks measurably affected me and those of which that had less of an impact. Taking what positive takeaways I can, I see what my calendar has in store for me.