Is Being Busy the New Status Symbol?

An Evio Exclusive written by See Girl Work an Evio Community Partner

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A few years ago it was yoga, hatha yoga, then hot yoga. We proudly ordered our Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato without stumbling. After that we all started shopping organic-only, wearing those Lululemon sheer pants (only to pretend that we didn’t realize they were sheer) and we all tattooed “wanderlust” on our arms to show all our office friends exactly how we used our work mandated two-week vacation time.

Nowadays, complaining about being busy and working all the time—rather than being on vacation or travelling—has become the new status symbol. 

In the age of Instagram and social media not-so humble bragging, we’re all obsessed with productivity, monthly planners, daily planners, social media planners, content planners, bullet journals, to-do lists and how to get more stuff done.


A common response today to the question, “How are you?” is “Swamped!” 


In certain cultures, spending your time relaxing and spending your time on vacations is a sign of social status. But for us, we attribute higher status and social standing to those who are always busy, always working hard, always spending many hours at the office fueling their overscheduled planners.


Being busy is a sign that one has the ambition and competence to move up the ladder.


According to an article in Psychology Today: a person who is busy is seen to be a scarce resource because they have little time available. Like a rare gemstone, this scarcity makes them appear higher in status.

Contrary to the realities of the past—being busy is the new status signal. But being busy isn’t something that happens to you. Being busy is a statement, a descriptor, about the things you have on your plate–and how you feel about that workload. 


So, how do you take charge of your schedule and let go of the busyness myth?


1. Change Your Mind

In order to take charge of your schedule, you must understand what’s fuelling all of that work.
Is it a matter of necessity, a need to prove yourself, a need to keep up appearances at work? Consider altering your perception of what work and what being busy means. Get rid of the idea that others get to size you up based on the contents of your planner.


2. Be Present

Slow down and breathe. If you want to achieve success and happiness and live the life you want, recognize that all you have is the moment. Presence and neurotic busyness simply cannot coexist. Start by experiencing the present moment.


3. Value Your Time

You can replace money and you can replace things. You’ll never get back this very moment. Re-evaluate what you’re spending the bulk of your time on. What is the return on investment? What does spending 10 hours mindlessly scrolling through Instagram really get you? Make the conscious decision to value your time and you’ll naturally engage in less busyness. 


4. Prioritize

What is most important to you? What really matters to you? Knowing how to prioritize to ensure you can best manage your life and your career can be a difficult task. It’s never really lack of time that prevents you from doing something, it’s lack of priority. Focus on what really matters to you.


5. Don’t Mistake Activity for Accomplishment

Just because you're busy doesn't mean you're accomplishing anything. There’s always so much going on at work these days. Emailing. Reading. Responding. Taking calls. Before you know it, you’ve worked 10 hours only to wonder what you actually got done.

There’s probably a whole bunch of activities which are consuming your time, without making any sort of real impact in your life. Push them to the back burner.


6. Balance Activity with Rest

Just as you need activity to accomplish something, you need to rest to support your activity. Meditate, take a walk outside, get a good night’s sleep or read a book. Life is a delicate balance of the yin and yang. It’s a marathon, not a race so pace yourself.

Of course, when you keep telling other people how busy (and important) you are, you might start to believe it yourself. But generally speaking, we all have more time than we think.