The last two months or so have been extraordinarily busy for me. Between work, setting up the Product Design Guild, professional networking and social commitments, I moved into a state of having serious calendar packing. Today, was the end of this long burst of anaerobic work and I declared a moratorium on busyness for the next month. I left work early, randomly decided to head over to Berkeley, wandered around a bit, had dinner with a friend and was just generally aimless for the entire afternoon.

I have a very strong aversion to busyness that I have carefully cultivated over time. It’s one of my most cherished traits. Unbusy people like me seem to be a dying trend, especially in the hyper-go-go Silicon Valley. The norm here seems to be that even dinner with friends must be planned a week in advance with careful checking of calendars to ensure an open slot. Even when I am “crazy busy”, I’m at a complete amateur hour compared to some people I know, my busy would be their normal.

Being busy undoubtedly makes you more productive. And part of the reason I went on this two month sprint was simply that I needed to get a lot of stuff done. But there’s a certain essence lost in the busyness as well. I couldn’t jump on opportunities that came my way with expiring deadlines, I couldn’t open myself up to serendipity and try completely new things. Also, with the cloak of busyness, I felt my inspiration, creativity and insight slipping away. Life fell into a tunnel vision of focusing just on this next thing.

One of the lessons I’ve learn from this experience is just how vigilantly I need to guard my unbusy schedule. And how much value I gain from being unbusy which I never fully appreciate except when it goes away.

  • http://www.ribbonfarm.com Venkat

    Halleluejah!

    To me busyness is a big sign of ineffectiveness in 90% of the people who claim the state. 10% are actually productively busy. The rest are either trying to appear busy to impress others, or being dumb about how they work, or plain old workaholics.

    • Hang

      I think both busy & unbusy people, 90% of them are ineffective. I’m not especially glorifying unbusyness in any way. I know during my unbusy times, I spend large chunks of them being gloriously unproductive and I do get more done when I’m busy.

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    Chapter 21    
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    Sohrab danced in a circle, eyes closed, danced until the music stopped. The bells jingled one final time when he stomped his foot with the song’s last note. He froze in midspin.   
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