“I’m soooo busy” aka “I’m productive”

I’m still on the busyness bandwagon, probably because I can feel the inexorable suction that a busy lifestyle exerts on me. Our culture has been hijacked by a busy, hurried, overloaded, overbooked psyche. It is the way western life is lived!

One of the things we’re saying when we tell people that we’re busy, is that in fact we are productive and useful human beings. The mindset behind this, is that if we are productive, and achieving in life, then we are significant, important and worthy. We’re good people.

There are some problems with this mentality though. The converse is that if we are unproductive non-achievers, then really we are less valuable as a person. An autistic child who never really produces anything, is less valuable, even though they may have wonderful attributes and relationship and bring joy into their families lives.

Another problem is that we are reducing the human experience to one of utilitarianism. To be human is to be productive. But this is a very modern mindset, which has really taken hold since the industrial revolution. It turns humans into machines, thus dehumanizing us. The arts have no place. Relationships suffer. Our health suffers. Contemplation, reflection, meditation, solace are all seen as superfluous, fluffy, useless, and airy fairy. But these are all things that make us feel human.

A recent survey of 6000 British civil servants showed that those who worked three to four hours of overtime per day, had a whopping 60% higher risk of heart disease. Another recent survey of over 1200 mums showed that 70 per cent felt burnt out. Busyness is bad for us because productivity isn’t the ultimate purpose of a human life. If you live in a constant state of busyness, I think you’re a bit of a tool.

In fact, we’ve been busy for so long, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel human.