Slices of Life: The business of busyness

I’m proud to announce that at one point I was a multi-millionaire busyness professional. My monthly calendar was so full of meetings, activities, commitments and committees I had to color code it with a rainbow of highlighters. Yeah, I was that cool.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

"If you don’t have time for things that matter, stop doing things that don’t.” —Courtney Carver.

This column is dedicated to busy, and those of us who might describe ourselves as such.

We’ve all been there. Most of us are probably there right now.

As far as busy goes, those of us in the club are members of two different factions.

The first: People who are really too busy.


I feel for us. We are overextended and scrambling because gosh darn it, we have to! We might work multiple jobs, not because it brings us joy, but because how else are the mortgage and new car payments going to get paid?


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In addition, there are the kids. They’ve got to learn busy at an early age, so there’s taxiing them to private oboe lessons (it’s important to learn individual strengths and skills) and soccer practice (teamwork teaches life lessons.)
And that’s just the start. We haven’t slept more than five or six hours a night in the last 10 years because when else will the laundry get done? And then there’s cleaning the house on the day before the housekeeper comes. Exhausting.

Busy is a full-time job; heck it’s a full-time life. The days buzz by without us hardly noticing because it’s all become a whirr. It’s the business of busyness and many of us are like blind mice running in perpetuity on that preverbal wheel.

If only we could find a way to step off and quit running in place!

Be careful what you might wish for. Because then we might find ourselves as members of the second group: People who merely think they are too busy.

It’s hard to distinguish those of us truly in the first group (too busy) from those of us in the second (want to be too busy). Neither group has harnessed calm or tranquility. How could you when you are so busy you can’t think straight enough to know if you are actually busy or just hallucinating the state?

Neither brings balance or harmony into our lives, yet we continue to live it out, day after day, week after week, year after year. Running on that darn wheel, never getting anywhere.


The only perk about the illusion of being busy, versus busy in the true sense, is that with the illusion you have more time to complain to others about how busy you are.

This, in many circles, is what is known as a status symbol. The busier you are the more status you accrue. I’m proud to announce that at one point I was a multi-millionaire busyness professional. My monthly calendar was so full of meetings, activities, commitments and committees I had to color code it with a rainbow of highlighters. Yeah, I was that cool.

Those were the days.

These days, I suppose I’m not as busy as I was then. (Please don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to lose rank or reputation among my busy friends.) In fact, I make it a point to meditate every day, which is just about the opposite of busy if ever there was one.

One of my favorite guided meditations includes the following statement: “I am at peace with doing nothing.” I kid you not.

The first time I heard it, I stopped in my tracks. We have reached the point in our busy, busy lives where we have to consciously tell ourselves it is OK to not be busy, to do nothing, to be in the moment and be OK with that.

Meditation is all about calming one’s mind. It takes the spotlight off busy and into the peace within. It is breathing and focus and finding an inner calm — all at the same time — which, if you think about it, is actually multitasking. Gasp. Consider the enormity of this statement.

I am.


Meditation is the act of being busy by not being busy, which is a win-win if I ever heard one.

You read it here first.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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