Busy, busy, busy. It can be an answer to a question of how you are doing, but is that what you really want? Recently, at a meeting, I was reminded of how people use the “badge of busyness” as a means of self validation, self-worth and side-stepping reflective moments. It has become a culturally embedded form of value that I think also contributes to people’s disconnect from their own lives.

In the post meeting chit-chat a woman  launched into a story of a sporting event for which she is a committee chair. She told us how at the time of the event she would be spending 12 to 15 hours a day making sure  she had everyone she needed. The expected response from the listeners is sympathy and compliments for her contributions. I  want to say “I hope you enjoy yourself.” I don’t mean it in a sarcastic or belittling manner, however I also am not interested in playing into the busy badge of honour. If that is your experience, if you are not doing it for enjoyment, why are you?

Starting at x, as mentioned in X Marks the Spot, is assessing where you are right now. If you are struggling with wanting a more satisfying life but can’t seem to find how to create it, a first step is doing a check in about how you are using your time.

Working for the greater good and being a contributing member of one’s community are worthy ways of spending your time. They can, sometimes, also be handy screens, preventing you from really seeing what’s going on behind it all. I think of Oz the great and powerful, seeming to control everything and really controlling nothing at all. The illusion of having it together and the bells, whistles and bright lights. There is action and movement but in what direction, or in any direction?

Step back from busy and take your life pulse

Being busy in our society equates to importance. The busier you are, especially if you are doing it for others, equals value. Busyness can also be a means of numbing out from whatever else is going on. Being on all the time, being available all the time or doing something all the time means there is no time for reflection. Reflection is the quiet space where you check in with yourself and take the pulse of how you are doing and how things are with your relationships with others and with yourself.

The Busy Badge of Honour keeps us from being fully who we are and a marker about how we find our self-worth and how we judge others worth. Being busy can be as much of an addiction as eating, texting, social media, smoking or drinking. It is an attempt to deflect thoughts that may feel too uncomfortable to explore. It just happens to be culturally accepted.

Are you serious about showing up in your life? Of being the creator of your own experience? Then this is the time when you must step back and be willing to pull back the screen of your own Oz and see what’s there. Do a check in, measure where you are spending your time and how satisfying it is to you. It’s also worth noting what you do if those reflective thoughts creep in. Do you allow them or do you find a way to deflect them?

The first steps to moving forward are stopping, checking in, and then charting  how to get there.

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