Busy Bee Badge or Busy Bee Blindfold?

(Read in :035)“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”~Socrates

We bump into a friend at Target and exchange hasty “Hi, how are yous?” What’s the most common answer? “Slammed, crazy busy!” Then we buzz a bit about our over-scheduled life and sigh. We shake our heads and lament that aren’t enough hours in the day. “Let’s get together when things settle down,” we say, and we fly off, each in our own haphazard direction. And we both know it ain’t gonna happen.

Life often sends us reminders when we veer off course. Friendly whispers at first, then louder and louder until we can’t ignore the noise. Say what you will about how creepy it is that stuff we’ve been thinking about shows up in our email but it’s a fact. Lately, I’ve been bombarded with reminders that maybe “busy” is not a badge but rather a self-deceptive blindfold we hide behind.

But I AM a busy bee, darn it!!

I know you are, Busy Bee, but before you get your wings in a wad and tell me to buzz off, consider this. Somewhere along the line, we’ve created a highly complex game of busy one-upsmanship. The ultimate reality show. Scores are based on how busy, (translate: important/indispensable) we are. How many balls are we juggling? How flawlessly do we execute each maneuver? Bonus points: How good do we look while we’re doing it?

I vividly remember an early edition of the game. Young moms would get together and compare how much they had accomplished in a day as if their value was tied to whoever had the longest list. It didn’t matter what the activity. The “winner” was the one who had the highest number of laundry loads, toilets scrubbed, quarts of beans canned, dozens of cookies baked or trips to town for the kids. Subtle and seemingly friendly, yet insidiously, corrosively competitive.

“No matter how busy a man is, he is never too busy to stop and talk about how busy he is.”~Kahlil Gibran

A busy bee who will not see?

The truth is, and it’s a hard one to accept, that staying “busy” all the time keeps us from addressing things that are eating at our contentment. It’s a fact. Workaholism is an addiction but it’s one that’s socially applauded.

We hate being alone and unscheduled because it is in those moments that the woulda coulda shoulda demons come creeping out of the shadows. And that’s when we check our Facebook feed or look for a text to distract us from silent think time. And the guilt. I suggest that we unconsciously create our circumstances so we cannot and do not address our emotional pain.

There really is a better way

I hate articles or shows that bring up sticky questions and end without offering a single solution. Don’t you? I would offer you this advice. It is not easy or fast. Darn, our two favorite recipes!

If you’d like your life to reflect the things that matter most to you, you need to do four things. One, think about and write down the things that are the most important to you. The heart things. Two, keep a journal of everything you do for a few days, the whole enchilada. Three, compare lists. Scary isn’t it?

Four? Think of just one thing you could reduce, outsource, hire done or skip all together and do it. Then take those minutes or hours and spend them on list one. Like a budget, you see? I know you can do it, dear one!

Take a lesson from the bees

Gather the sweetness in your life a little dab at a time, Busy Bee. Then, carry it home to your hive and keep it close to your heart. It can be an itty bitty thing. The trick is to do it and then do it again. I’m anxious to hear your stories! See you next time. Love, B

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”~ Henry David Thoreau


  • Patricia A. Johnson

    I’m just now taking time to do the things that I didn’t think were important. I now am being more creative and using my art to help work through some issues. I never even though that I wasn’t living fully by being so busy but I was not making time for the things that matter like family and friends not to mention myself. This blog was right on target.
    Thank you

    • Betty Streff

      Thank you! You’re implementing some incredibly healthy practices into your life! Good for you!

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