Recently, I was reading a blog post by Joshua Becker on his wonderful website www.becomingminimalist.com. He states that “busy has become the new fine.” What he means is this – when someone asks how we are, we used to say, “fine.” Now we say, “busy.” Why? Anecdotally, I would say that we all are, in fact, very busy. But it’s more than that. It’s also that “busy” has become something we celebrate, as though our busyness proves that we are accomplishing a lot, taking advantage of what’s available to us, and not being (heaven forbid) lazy.
As I was pondering this, I happened to read “Soulful Simplicity” by Courtney Carver. This lovely book chronicles Ms. Carver’s personal journey to declutter and simplify her home, time, and life following a medical crisis. She also notes our epidemic of busyness, and how much our constant and unrelenting busyness creates complications, clutter, and chaos in our lives.
Carver offers a 21-day challenge to slow down, her “Busy Boycott.” In the first week, commit to stop talking about your busyness. In the second week, commit to eliminating one thing per day from your commitments or to-do list. In the final week, commit to finding opportunities to slow down and linger.
I have worked with countless clients to reduce commitments and find more breathing room in their lives. These important ideas are not new to most of us, but, like weeds in a garden, our to-do lists continue to grow without vigilant and consistent pruning.
My favorite part of the “Busy Boycott” is the challenge to stop talking about our busyness. This task sounds simple but can yield profound results. At the very least, we take a break from glorifying the fast pace of life. Beyond that, it offers us an opportunity to describe our commitments in more thoughtful language. Perhaps your “busy” week is actually a week “rich with special family activities.” Now doesn’t that put a new spin on it? Alternately, your “busy” week might be a week “filled with activities and running around that I dread.” Hmm, perhaps this points the way toward some commitments that need pruning.
I hope you will consider taking the “Busy Boycott.” I wish you a week filled with consciously chosen and meaningful activities, plus a healthy dose of lingering.