MBA without Bachelorcollege.chBritish Online MBA for Managers Upgrade your career today !OPINIONATOR | ANXIETYThe 'Busy' TrapBRECHT VANDENBROUCKEBy TIM KREIDERJune 30, 2012If you live in America in the 21st century you've probably had to listen to a lot ofpeople tell you how busy they are. It's become the default response when you askanyone how they're doing: "Busy!" "Sobusy." "Crazybusy." It is, pretty obviously,a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind ofcongratulation: "That's a good problem to have," or "Better than the opposite."Notice it isn't generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. orSUBSCRIBELOG INOpinionator|The 'Busy' Trap - NYTimes.com-...1 of 65/8/14 6:31 PM
commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are;what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It'salmost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work andobligations they've taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they've "encouraged"their kids to participate in. They're busy because of their own ambition or drive oranxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have toface in its absence.Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren'teither working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in timewith friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.'s make sure to sign up for communityservice because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friendto ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn't havea lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he couldditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been apreliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this wasthe invitation. But hisbusyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out atme, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.Even childrenare busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes andextracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired asgrown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours oftotally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to doeverything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films togetting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into oneanother's eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights thatremain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wantedto live the rest of my life.