vent sesh: busy is the new black


Somehow everyone is busy, crazy, slammed, insane. Even when I’m not one of those things, people contextualize conversations with me by saying, “How are you doing, you must be so crazy!” or, “I know you’re so busy, things are just so crazy huh?!.” I don’t know when this became a compliment (or competition). Yet it’s become typical fodder, from colleagues and business contacts to friends and family. The above quote says it all; stop the glorification of busy.

It has became some sort of status symbol to say we’re so busy, insane, crazy, nuts. I happen to be some of these things lately, but I’d live for a few quieter weeks. Perhaps a work week with just one or two meetings, or a weekend without multiple kids birthday parties and other obligations. It’s critical to find balance, to have lazy days and to have more than moments with the handful of people that mean the most to you.

I had a lunch date with my gram yesterday, who, despite wanting to see our family more (ok, her great grandkids!), she said, you need to take time for being a family, for having time together, and for having downtime.  I love that.

We do need that. I need and want it with the kids. I need and want it with my husband. It’s not healthy for any of us to be so over-booked. So many studies talk about the downside of doing this with kids, and there must be similar findings for adults. I’ve ridiculously found myself feeling guilty for the moments — particularly weekend afternoons — when I don’t have plans and I’m just sitting on the couch reading a magazine. It’s crazy.

There will always be a to-do list. Errands. Chores around the house or even pie-in-the-sky tasks. For me: pictures that need to be ordered and/or put in photo albums. It’s about prioritizing. Realizing what can be done. What must be done. What you can delegate, and what you don’t need to be doing in the first place. There’s something substantial about living a calm, peaceful life, one without the supposedly braggy busy schedule.  We’re all throwing out these terms regardless of our jobs, family life, etc., and with good reason. In our own ways, we are all living these often too-full lives with much that can be kicked to the curb. It shouldn’t be a one-up game where it’s nearly an unwritten competition who has a more jam-packed schedule.

I took on a few responsibilities this spring that are winding down, and will significantly calm within the next month. After that, my focus is to lose this game of “busy.” Yeah, I’m tying to expand my businesses, to raise two children, to have a thriving marriage and to prioritize my health. The rest will have to wait for as long as it takes.

Find balance. Say no, prioritize, be happy with less of the calendar clutter. With less of all of it.


  • Reply
    Kristin Swenson
    April 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    At the end of the day, we’re doing it all for our family, but we really don’t do them any good if we aren’t present!

  • Reply
    Allie Fitzpatrick
    April 9, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    I totally agree – it’s not a competition. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    xx allie

  • Reply
    April Nicole
    April 3, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Really like this. We know we need to take the time out for ourselves, but we rarely do it. Most likely because we are wrapped up in this “glorious idea” of being busy. Life is short, we should LIVE!

  • Reply
    Cheryl Baldwin
    April 3, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Love this sentiment. It IS time for us to realize that whoever is the most busy does NOT win. It doesn’t make us better, thinner, smarter and lord knows, happier. Let’s encourage each other to slow down!!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Cheers to a well-deserved breather!

  • Reply
    Kristin Clark
    April 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Lovely read. It’s so true!

    Kristin of

    • Reply
      Phyllis Miller
      April 3, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      Really enjoyed the article, Alyson. Busy is getting to be somewhat a negative about what our lives should not be. I want to enjoy my life without ever being too busy. MOM

  • Reply
    Lauren B.
    April 3, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Love this article! I also find myself feeling guilty when I take a few moments for myself. Great reminder to slow down!

  • Reply
    Allison Buthray
    April 3, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    I really appreciate people that recognize this issue. It drives me crazy when it has to be a competition about who’s the busiest! We’re all busy because we make ourselves busy. There should be no negativity about taking a Saturday afternoon or week night to just read or relax or do some yoga.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    I couldn’t agree more with this – getting diagnosed really forced me to slow down these last few months and I’ve realized that it’s been such a good thing for our entire family. We’ve had more dinners around the table together where the kids are sharing their hearts with us, we’ve had random game nights that end in laughter-induced tears and we all feel closer as a result. It’s totally worth anything that we may have given up! 🙂

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