Are You Proud of Being Busy?

Is busy a good thing?

Tazki Anida Asrul
Be Unique


I used to feel so good when I got busy. There were a lot of tasks to do, a bunch of meetings I had to attend in a week, and no time to chill and relax. When I looked at social media, many people celebrated their busyness. It made me thought that being busy was cool. It made me validated as a person. It made me feel more important when the truth was... I was not.

Why people tend to like being busy?

Busyness is an addiction. Our brains love it. Why? Because our motivation chemical — called Dopamine, is triggered whenever we complete a task. The busier you are, the more task you get, the more satisfied you feel. As Isaiah Hankel says here

Telling others that you’re busy is an ego boost. Being busy makes you feel important.

But then again, is it a good thing?

Being busy is not similar to being productive

When I got busy, I needed to force myself to be multitasking. Within 24 hours, I needed to ensure that all of my tasks were done. It became a common thing to do more than one thing a one time. I became less focused, and the results of my works were poor. I didn’t know how to manage my time, and that was what I called busy.

It makes me realize, that busy is about a time management issue. It’s about how poor my priority is. I am really different from what productive people look like.

  • Busy people tend to jump on every task given. Productive people know what they need to do first, what is important, and when to say no.
  • Busy people try to do many jobs at once, while productive people try to focus on one matter at a time.
  • Busy people just make sure they can finish all of the tasks, and put aside the quality. Productive people make sure their works are effective and on point. Their work results must be different.

So the next question is, how to become less busy, and be more productive?

1. Being rationally selective

Being selective is about how to know what is important the most. Sometimes you just can’t fulfill everyone's needs. When you are out of hand and feel that the task is not important enough, it’s okay to say no.

Take a breath before you say yes to something. Your focus and time are valuable. It would be wise to know your capacity and choose what you need to do based on your rationale.

2. Focus on one task at once

It has been assumed by many scientists that our brain just can’t process more than one string of information at a time. Research by Stanford University shows that multitaskers are paying a big mental price. As professor Clifford Nass said,

They’re suckers for irrelevancy. Everything distracts them.

By doing multitasking, you decrease the performance of your brain. Not only slows the time to finish tasks, but also reduces the quality of results.

Creating a to-do list might be helpful. Order your tasks by priority, and whenever you do each of them, do it heartfully. Pay your whole attention to that task, and ignore any distraction that would come.

3. Give yourself a break

Your own self needs your attention. Your brain needs a rest, your body needs a reset. Get some game if you need to. Get some sleep and realign your mind. Don’t forget to book a time for yourself, because it is an investment. Refreshing your mind will help you to be more productive and focused later on.

Busy is an illusion of temporary satisfaction. Busyness is not a badge of honor and makes you more important. It obtains you from reaching your actual goal. There is nothing to be proud of being busy. Be proud of being productive instead, would you?