Welcome to my blog, aka my place to comment and reflect on things I find inspiring, amusing, irritating, or baffling. When I was young, my Stanford PhD, former physics professor, software engineer father used to help me with my math homework, and I, being mentally deficient in all things math, could never quite get it. He would constantly say to me, "Jill, it's not rocket science." (Did I mention the PhD was in Aeronautics and Astronautics??) So I thought it would be an appropriate title for this blog because everything I write about is, indeed, not rocket science.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Busyness or Laziness?

I recently read this article which argues that most people's busyness is self-imposed and that they are busy "because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence." The author also says that when people say, "I've been so busy," it's actually a boast disguised as a complaint. I think the author is mostly correct, but I would add another factor and say that busyness can also be used as an excuse to mask laziness. A common example in my life: "I'm sorry I haven't responded until now - I've been super busy." Sure, there are times when I am actually very busy at work and don't have time for personal e-mails. But there are other days when I'd simply rather spend my time playing on the internet than responding to e-mails. And then when I do respond, I can say how busy I've been, which might be a partial-truth. I suppose I'm giving away a secret, but I think everybody does this in some form.

The busyness excuse lets us off the hook for a lot of things, whether it's taking too long to respond to an e-mail, return a phone call, or buy a birthday gift. But it is socially inappropriate to say, "I definitely have time for this, but I'd rather spend my time watching TV. I'll see how I feel tomorrow." This laziness isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just a choice we make about how we spend our time. Sometimes we just don't feel like it. But we feel better about ourselves if we just tell people how busy we are. People can understand this. They'll respond, "Oh, me too. Let's catch up when we both come up for air." Sometimes you just need 'me' time, and you don't want to feel bad about it. And you shouldn't feel bad about it. But just remember to tell everyone how busy you are.

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