Scott Berkun on “the cult of busy,” that by always seeming to have something to do, we assume you must be important or successful:
[P]eople who are always busy are time poor. They have a time shortage. They have time debt. They are either trying to do too much, or they aren’t doing what they’re doing very well. They are failing to either a) be effective with their time b) don’t know what they’re trying to effect, so they scramble away at trying to optimize for everything, which leads to optimizing nothing.
Contrary to what we might think:
Some of the best thinkers throughout history had some of their best thoughts while going for walks, playing cards with friends, little things things that generally would not be considered the hallmarks of busy people. It’s the ability to pause, to reflect, and relax, to let the mind wander, that’s perhaps the true sign of time mastery, for when the mind returns it’s often sharper and more efficient, but most important perhaps, happier than it was before.
I recently said a flat “no” to an interesting project. The person replied, “I get it, you don’t have the time.” I had the time, yet taking the time to do it would take me away from other things I care about — running a program, consulting, writing. What I didn’t mention to this person was that I need idle time in equal proportion to planned time; leaving time for the unplanned, and making sure there’s enough time for a bit of nothing. It’s this space that makes the planned more worthwhile.