Against being busy

It’s official: being busy is not good for you and it means you ultimately get less done. It damages your relationships with people and it can skew your priorities, dull your focus and cause bad decisions. Like smoking, thirty years ago, it is turning the corner from looking cool into being very uncool.


To help you break the habit and free your mind, we have a few ideas.


Have at least one place where you enjoy doing nothing. It might be a park, a seafront or a haberdashery shop. Go at least once a week and seek out more places where you can enjoy switching off.


Have at least one friend you can do nothing with. Your best friend might have too much to talk about. Find someone good at sharing a companionable silence, then hang out with them to just watch the world go by.


Each time you make a To Do list, review it and remove some items. If they become more important later, they’ll make it onto your next list.


Make a point of being a person who won’t be rushed. Don’t scurry when you walk, speed when you drive or gabble when you talk. Be calm and deliberate, taking up as much space and time as you need.


Get into the habit of giving yourself more time than you need. Instead of saying, “I’ll have that for you within the hour”, say “I’ll have that for you this afternoon”. If someone presses you to give an immediate reply to a question, practice saying, “I’ll get back to you.”


When you feel yourself speeding up, slow your breathing.


First published in Widows and Widowers magazine, Issue 15


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