31 days to focus on you

Tuesday’s Tip: Busy or just filling time?

July 25, 2017
Busy or just filling time?

Busy or just filling time?

How often when people ask how you are, do you respond with ‘I’m so busy!’  I’m sure we have all answered this way many times.

This idea of ‘being so busy’ has come up several times for me over the last two weeks and I felt it was a sign to include this topic as part of our 31 days to Focus on You series.

The topic of ‘busyness’, was highlighted to me firstly,

  • on a run with one of my Saturday Sisters, who was discussing an article she had read about a woman who was sick of being busy all the time and not achieving anything.  She actually became obsessed with the subject and changed her life for the better.
  • I then came across an article  by Margaretha Montague from Equineguidedgrowth.com about ‘Stress Addiction’ . Margaretha runs workshops for stress management, mindfulness and meditation.  She writes about Stress Addiction:

This lifestyle seems now to have reached epidemic proportions. In an attempt to escape boredom and make themselves feel more important, people are getting addicted to stress

Busy or just filling time?

It appears that these days busyness is worn as a badge of honour but busyness does not mean we are being productive and in some cases it is a matter of just filling in time.  Some feel they are inadequate or boring if they don’t spend each day ‘chasing their tails’.

They feel the need to have every waking hour filled or sometimes double booked. They ‘scoff’ at the idea of ‘me time’ and seem to take pleasure in telling us how exhausted they are.

The sadness of this is that there is no quality of life, no time for reflection or gratitude. No time to take a break, rest and recover. This is unhealthy.

Good news!  Being busy can be healthy and give us a purpose.

For example, my MIL moved into an aged care facility in February.  Since then her life has changed dramatically for the better.  She attends all the activities and her days are full of purpose.  At 91 she is definitely happier now than for many years.

Before she moved her days were empty after the loss of her husband of 70 years.  She was declining and giving up on life.  Now we almost have to make an appointment to see her as her days are full and she is having fun.  It is such a joy to see her feeling this way.

I came across this quote which I think sums it up:

So next time you are busy – ask yourself am I being productive or am I just filling in time?



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  • Reply Sara Beth July 25, 2017 at 06:10

    Hi, Susan. Wow, this theme has been in my face the whole month of July. It may be because I’ve let go for this month. A sort of vacation from the ‘business as usual’ to really listen.

    I am one to wear “busy” as a badge of honor. I think it began in College when I heard things like “Oh, my. You’re taking Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Statistics, and Physics?!” It boosted my trampled ego a bit. BUT, it definitely showed at the end of the semester in burnout. Now, what good did that do?

    I’m happy to hear your mom is living with purpose now. Interacting with people who need your energy is the best mood lifter, isn’t it?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 25, 2017 at 09:03

      Yes it is easy to think that being busy is so important Sara. Yes MIL is having a ball at at 91 it is lovely to see. Have a great day! xx

      • Reply Sara Beth July 29, 2017 at 10:43

        Hi, Sue. Glad to hear your MIL is having a lovely time. Often times we just need to try something new even if it’s scary. You never know what’s around the corner unless you take that first step into the unknown.
        Enjoy your weekend.

        • Reply Sue Loncaric July 30, 2017 at 06:32

          That is so right Sara – change can be scary but also wonderful. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Margaretha July 25, 2017 at 14:07

    I think you have hit the nail on the head here, Sue, by distinguishing between busyness that leads nowhere, just a spinning of wheels and busyness that is actually productive. And there is little to be grateful for in non-productive busyness – I feel that gratitude should be a huge part of reflection because improves quality of life.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2017 at 10:37

      Thanks Margaretha I agree gratitude should be at the foremost part of our life. Have a beautiful day x

  • Reply Estelle Anderson July 25, 2017 at 23:11

    I think busyness somehow has become a modern cultural measure. It’s like we are of value, important, worthy, an adequate person … if we are busy doing something. And very often it is hard to step back from these invitations to measure up.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2017 at 10:35

      Yes I totally agree Estelle sometimes we feel pressured to ‘look busy’ because we fear others will think we are boring. Thanks for your comment and have a great day!

  • Reply Leanne | crestingthehill July 26, 2017 at 14:42

    It’s also about priorities isn’t it Sue? What is important we will always find time for – filling our lives up with trivia is so wasteful. I think it’s nice to have times of doing nothing and times of doing stuff that is important to us. Back to our favourite word “balance” again 🙂

  • Reply Leslie Clingan July 27, 2017 at 03:55

    So much of my time seems to be spent HERE on my laptop. Wish I love to hate or hate to love. Definitely out of balance with the time spent reading stuff, writing stuff, looking up STUFF!

    My mom is probably happier in her retirement community than she has been in 20 years. She has a routine that she has chosen, friends she loves and a sense of purpose for getting up in the morning.

    This Miracle Morning routine I have been doing is a wonderful way to focus my day but also has me scrambling to try to accomplish more and more and more.

  • Reply Jo Tracey July 27, 2017 at 08:17

    I’m cool with being busy when there’s an outcome. These days I’m finding myself saying no more often – not because I’m too busy, but because I don’t want to be too busy for walking or my afternoon reading or Saturday cooking session or a wander around the markets. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:09

      Exactly Jo and I love what you have been up to since moving to the Sunshine Coast. Enjoy! xx

  • Reply Olivia Morris July 27, 2017 at 08:31

    Great post. I know I can hide behind being busy. Sometimes I am busy reading a book that has been on my shelf for far too long. I have set aside time for me to do the things I want to do. I have had enough of running around for anyone else.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:10

      Oh that is a good point Olivia, I’m often busy reading a book! We do need to do what we want to do especially at this stage of life. As you say we have always been running around after everyone else it is time for us. Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Min@WriteoftheMiddle July 27, 2017 at 08:55

    Ahhh yes – such a good topic Sue! I used to be very busy and very stressed but not in a healthy way nor in a feel good purposeful way. Now I’m less busy but the ‘busy’ part of my life is full of purpose, learnings and so very rewarding and I’m very grateful for that! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:16

      Purpose is the key Min and you have proven that the stressed out busy corporate life might not be all it is cracked up to be. Have a lovely relaxing weekend , I’ve been enjoying your photos of Wynnum on Instagram. x

  • Reply Kathy Marris July 27, 2017 at 10:35

    I rather like the feeling of being busy, but definitely not over-taxed. I make time for myself every single day to exercise and partake in an enjoyable activity. I no longer have anything to prove with “keeping up the appearance of being busy and important”. I lead a balanced life and spread out my work over the work so that I don’t overload myself. People think they have to take on everything little thing these days to keep up when in reality they don’t. It’s a pretence! #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:17

      Sounds like you really do have it worked out Kathy and I always enjoy your travel posts and Instagram posts of the Coast – living the life. Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Vanessa July 27, 2017 at 10:55

    I am very anti “busy” and quite happily tell people on a Monday that I did nothing over the weekend.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:15

      Good for you Vanessa! There always seems the pressure to ‘have done lots on a weekend’ isn’t there? Doing nothing I’m sure would be bliss to many people. Have a great weekend doing nothing and enjoy. xx

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl July 27, 2017 at 11:10

    That quote about being addicted to stress made me think, Sue. I can relate to it at times, as if it fills some kind of emptiness or fear of emptiness.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:14

      Yes fear of emptiness is a good point SSG. Glad the quote made you think and I hope you have a lovely day. xx

  • Reply Deborah July 27, 2017 at 11:30

    I’m rarely busy nowadays and think I spend A LOT of time just filling my time. There’s always so much more I could be doing those days I’m at home and yet I spend a lot of time flopped on my bed or wasting time. Essentially filling time – which is such a waste! #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:13

      It is easy when you have time on your hands to waste it Debbie. I’m like that some days but usually I’m busy in the mornings and then give myself a little lay down with a good book in the afternoons. Have a lovely weekend xx

  • Reply Janet aka Middle Aged Mama July 27, 2017 at 18:06

    I loved this bit: busyness is worn as a badge of honour. It drives me mental!!!! It’s not a competition to see who is the busiest for pete’s sake! Yes, my days can be busy but if they are “too busy” you know who’s fault it is? MINE. This is one of my favourite quotes: “It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the types of lives that we want to lead. If you don’t design your life, then someone else may just design it for you, and you may not like their idea of balance” – Nigel Marsh.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 07:12

      Thanks for the great quote Janet and yes wearing the badge of busyness as an honour drives me crazy too! Have a great weekend. xx

  • Reply Lyndall @ Seize The Day Project July 27, 2017 at 19:38

    Yep! Busyness is a really easy habit to fall into. Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to focus more on being productive with my time so I’m not so busy. Making time to do the things you love is so important and “busy” people seem to miss out on doing that a lot of the time 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  • Reply Debbie Harris July 28, 2017 at 07:22

    I do like to keep busy but only if it’s productive as someone else has commented. I’m loving the time to sit and ponder, read and tune out for a while too. It’s all about balance I think. This is a really insightful post Sue and sums up a lot of what’s going on out there in the busy world.

  • Reply Natalie July 28, 2017 at 08:33

    Hi Sue: I’m #21 on the Love Life link 🙂 This year I prioritize my time to do fit and fun activities, and spend time with my family and friends who bring me joy. I do yoga twice a week and spend some time each day to reflect on all the positive things that I’m experiencing. My days are full but I’m selective about what and how I fill them. Have a great weekend!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2017 at 15:43

      Hi Natalie I read your post and yes you are doing fit and fun activities – running and Spanish good for you! You have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit July 29, 2017 at 17:00

    I just love the word “everydayathon” in your quote! I’m going to use that at least 7 times this week, Every day in fact!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 30, 2017 at 06:31

      Yes I loved that word too Leanne! Have a lovely weekend. x

  • Reply Menaka Bharathi August 1, 2017 at 02:51

    I think i need to start thinking over the statement whether i am busy or just filling my time to keep myself occupied..Some thing to reflect on


    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 1, 2017 at 09:13

      Yes we can all reflect on that point, Menaka. Have a lovely day.

  • Reply Victoria August 8, 2017 at 06:13

    What is funny is I am not busy, I am enjoying my days doing what I enjoy doing but I feel guilty sometimes because I feel lazy, and I can’t say that most days I am productive. Of course who picks if I am productive or not ??? Lol I guess me, and since we have food on the table and clean clothes I think I am product enough. lol Good read.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2017 at 16:36

      I feel that way too sometimes, Victoria. I think because we have been busy all our lives when we retire we think we have to fill all our time. Whilst I do want to be active and remain connected we do need to find the balance to enjoy quiet time each day to do whatever we wish. Have a beautiful weekend x

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