Escaping the cycle of busyness

Is your life an endless series of exhausting sprints followed by periods when you frantically try to rest before the next sprint starts?

It can be oh-so-tempting to push harder when the finish line is in sight.

Raise your hand if you’ve recently said or thought one of the following:

  • “I’m slammed with work, but I’m going on vacation next month.”
  • “My line of work is cyclical. Some periods of the year are crazy busy and require me to work a lot. That’s just the way it is.”
  • “I know I’m working a lot, but I’ll have a two-week break soon. Then I’ll relax.”

Sometimes, it feels great to dig into a project. You’re in the zone, you experience flow—it feels good. But it’s not good when life is always that way.

I’ve been there: one crazy busy project is followed by a break that’s too short—then the next busy project starts. The thing is, there will always be a next project. If we keep buying into the cycle, we’ll never stop rushing and chasing and pushing.

There’s a different way.

Rather than waiting for some magical future moment when we won’t be busy anymore—when we reach “retirement age”, perhaps?—we can decide to stop being busy, now.

It’s almost like getting a little impatient. We refuse to accept any longer that life is busy and that it will always be that way. Instead, we say: I want to be calm now, and I’m not willing to wait for it to happen.

If we do this, we’ll find that the world doesn’t end just because we become less busy. We’ll still get things done, we’ll still feel accomplished, and people will still respect us.

We’ll feel a lot better, too. And that’s what counts.


— Peter

P.S. If we decide to escape the cycle of busyness, that’s not quite like being impatient. In fact, if we do this, we’re being patient: we’re saying, “I’m in this for the long haul, so I had better pace myself.”

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