Cult of Busy

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word busy lately. It is used all the time by most people these days. The typical response when two people greet each other and ask “How are you?” is busy. And if you do not say you are busy, you are most likely seen as strange. As I’ve become more established and reached out to more people about working with them on projects one of the interesting things I’ve had to figure out is setting expectations. I do not want to be busy. I want to be balanced. I want to work hard when I work and then leave that and do other things, such as cook a great dinner, be with my husband, and read a non tech related book or magazine.

As I strive for this, I am finding I am swimming against the tide of my particular industry norm. I honestly think that because so many people work full time jobs and then take on freelance work for evenings and weekends, they have ruined our clients expectations and skewed the perception of what’s a normal work day. Clients expectations are that everyone works all the time in the web/design world. This is directly related to this culture of busy, people overload themselves and then when asked, they are always busy.

I also feel like the fear of missing out plays a very large role in our business. I am most certainly missing things on a daily basis, as I leave twitter alone for hours at a time or don’t read all the latest articles that come my way. But I also feel like if it is a big enough deal, I won’t miss it. There is just no way that I can keep up with everything, so I step away, even if it means missing something that I may or may not find interesting.

So what is it about our culture that makes us want to seem busy? If you are really busy does that mean you are important? Does it boost one’s ego? I haven’t figured that out yet, but I do know that I don’t care what others think, I’m more concerned with my health, both physical and emotional, and that being busy isn’t good for me. I need time to reflect and absorb the things happening to and around me. I love to code, but I also need time away from it. So as I continue down this road of independent working, I look for ways to ensure that I do not become overwhelmed, but instead am balanced with work and the rest of my life.