Being Busy vs. Doing Nothing

Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 14, 2020

How do you feel when an appointment gets canceled? Unsettled at how you are going to spend all this free time and afraid of doing something unproductive? You may be spending a lot of time on tasks with little value and destroying yourself by the time you reach your major tasks.

Even if it sounds like a cliche, there is a difference between being productive and being busy. Just think. You’ve spent your entire day cooped up like a chicken in front of your computer, and when you’re about to check off tasks, your work seems insignificant.

Ask yourself.

Why are you always busy? To prove that you possess the professional work ethic needed to take you further in your career? To be recognized as a serious worker? However, the busier you keep yourself, the more inhibited the quality of your work or your creative skills are. Isn’t that what got people to recognize you in the first place?

Does not being busy mean that you are lazy? Or that you have feelings ready to burst out? Or that you are actually empty? Before you start wondering about that kid who called you fat, you should know that not being busy isn’t about sad vibes.

It means you are not controlled.

You can set your priorities.

You have a choice.

When do you feel the burnout?

Your busyness makes you feel good, but you’re also being burned out. How does that happen?

There are some of us who crave that ideal work-life balance, but few of us find it. This may be because of our workplace scenario. Whether we are answering emails or attending overlapping meetings, our busyness finds no escape.

You become so overwhelmed with the most immediate task or to meet deadlines that you miss out on the bigger picture. When you can finally squeeze out some time to oversee your results, you realize that the major part of your work is left while you have a minimal time left. You have failed to create the balance and have fallen into a pattern, thus hitting burnout.

Is not being busy really that bad?

What do you imagine doing when you are not busy? If you are not busy, it means that you have the choice to push tasks for later. This means you may have time for any of the following:

Daydreaming: You think about relaxing in front of the beach with your nipples free, listening full blast to Summertime Sadness. However, you are also developing the peripherals of your brain that enhance creative thinking.

Hobbies: One of the best alternatives to spending time are hobbies. Apart from this, other skill development areas can add to your benefit.

Socializing: Meeting and talking to friends can mean increasing your levels of happiness, thus accelerating your cognitive performance.

Focus: Decreasing your number of tasks and reserving more of your time for a single task can allow you to focus more on that, which in turn increases the quality of work since your creative juices can start to flow.

Disconnecting: How many times have you spent most of the initial stages of your work procrastinating? You have the determination, but you somehow find yourself wasting time randomly scrolling through social media or just making a fuss. A single disconnection can keep you stress-free and in better health.

Why is busyness the new normal?

Being busy may seem like the most vital definition of your life, but you may be giving up on the more meaningful areas of your life, such as your creativity, your productivity, your mental peace, thus increasing your risk of burnout. What are the major sectors setting your fallback, and how do you get rid of them?

Balancing Priorities

While having no priorities can lead to completing no work, having too many will leave you dazed and confused. Your priorities generally range around your family life, your academics, your work, your social life, your clubs, and even the fights between your neighbors.

While your health has to be your first priority, it is time to make the cut and set your needs straight. If you focus on merely a few tasks, your productivity will increase manifolds. Bestow your importance to everyone you find, and be ready to disappoint a few.


Finding yourself in the middle of three overlapping meetings squeezing in 10 minutes in each, and even missing out on a few has already become your regular habit. You may feel that you are showing your dedication and learning different subjects simultaneously, but according to your boss and coworkers, you are someone with poor time management skills and cannot be counted upon. Committing yourself to too many tasks results in poor work and paused or slow projects.

Instead of apologizing and feeling exhausted due to all the deadlines passed, simply say no. Saying that you will not be able to attend a meeting and looking for chances for rescheduling can lead to a better meeting than one which is recorded but never watched, or one where the most idea you get is from your coworker’s notes. Your priorities will tell where you can say yes.

Final thoughts

Breathe in and figure out where you are the least productive. Take a step back from your bustling workplace and find out where you thrive and where you are lagging. This can save you from falling hard.

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