Does Busy Trump Bored?

One of my favourite sayings goes “It’s better to be busy than bored.”

I have always whole-heartily agreed with this statement and at times when I have been crazy busy, I have consoled myself with the fact that ‘at least I’m not bored!’

But as our modern lives seem to be getting increasingly fast-paced and hectic, I am starting to re-think this theory. Is it really better to be busy? And how busy are we talking here?

If we are talking about having so much going on that you forget to drop your baby off at daycare, leave it in the car seat all day and then return to said daycare to pick the baby up, only to find that you not only forgot to drop it off in the first place, but that the little one has died (read more of this tragic story here:) – then I will take ‘bored’ any day of the week!

If we are talking about being so busy that you don’t have time to chat with a friend, visit a family member or play with your children – then it’s bored I’m choosing!

Why is it that busy now equals good? Somebody might be ultra busy running around like a roadrunner on speed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually achieving anything, or doing anything to the best of their ability.

roadrunner
photo credit: chris jd via photopin cc

So, that leads us to ‘bored’. Although I have just given ‘busy’ the once over, I don’t think ‘bored’ is really the ideal state of being either. I remember a time when I was bored… I had just graduated from university and had moved home with my parents to save money, while searching for suitable employment.
My day essentially consisted of six things: A morning walk along the beach, eating, preparing lunch for my grandmother, applying for jobs, checking the mail and watching television. That was my day … and this same day continued for around 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for having that time with my grandma and enjoyed the evening meals with the folks, but at the tender age of 18 – I was BORED!

So, where does that leave us? Obviously there are many downsides, some even fatal, to being too busy and being bored can be just as stressful. So I guess that leaves us with that thing we are always striving to achieve in our lives: BALANCE.

balance
photo credit: Viewminder via photopin cc

Oh yes, that delicate balance between work and life, fun and chores and busy and bored.

However, I wonder if this so-called balance is actually achievable? Maybe it is more realistic that we will have times in our lives when we are busier than we would like and times when we are bored and that life is actually just about managing those times as best we can and putting strategies in place to cope?

I know that when I find myself overwhelmed with everything going on I implement a few strategies such as: making lists, asking for help and trying to prioritise tasks into “must be done today jobs,” and “can wait until tomorrow jobs.”

I haven’t been bored for a long time, but next time I am I will try to appreciate the extra time to do those things I never get around to and funnily enough will try to keep ‘busy’ – go figure!

Where is your life on the spectrum of busy and bored? What strategies do you employ to manage?

Also, if there is anyone out there that has achieved perfect balance in life, please let me in on your secret!

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3 thoughts on “Does Busy Trump Bored?

  1. I recently blogged about how I handle being overwhelmed. I ended the post with a quote “Stop the glorification of busy”. I am a big believer that we can find balance if we just stop thinking that busy = self importance. And while I rarely have a chance to get bored, I take my boredom as a sign that I need to learn how to be more content when I’m not busy. Find some kind of zen or something or cherish the quiet moments more.

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