I recently came across the term ‘explosion of busyness’ which was used to describe our current culture. The article explains that different factors have lead to this new “age of doing”. Major advances in technology and the 2008 recession were two of the biggest catalysts.
Uncertain times and widespread job loss prompted individuals to focus on “bettering” themselves which translated into; learn more, do more, experience more, and grow more.
Because of increased access and technologies that make it easier to do more in a shorter amount of time there was suddenly a lot of pressure on individuals to perform and excel in a range of areas.
A new cultural emphasis on marketing oneself means unemployed professionals and students are now expected to demonstrate their ‘well-roundedness’ and skills set long before they enter the labour market.
“You’ll need…to advertise a catalogue of competencies: your diverse interests, original turn of mind, ability to work alone or in a team, time-management skills, enthusiasm, unflappability—not to mention your moral probity, generosity to those less fortunate, lovable “meet cute” quirkiness, and pleasure in the simple things of life, such as synchronized swimming, competitive dental flossing, and Antarctic exploration.”
Just reading this list is exhausting. Yet many people are striving to fulfil these demands. Add to that family responsibilities and all the other unexpected curve balls life throws at us and it’s no wonder, heart diseases, and other stress-related illnesses are so common.
We are told that the most successful people are the ones who work harder, I mean, the ones who work smarter not harder, who of course, focus on ‘leveraging ‘their strengths. What I mean to say is people who are happy in life and achieve are the ones who are very busy making every second count… by doing more with their time.
But at what cost? Children have forgotten how to play and it seems families and friends have forgotten how to enjoy each other or the moment. Instead we are constantly measuring how much more productively we could have used our time.
There is definitely something to be gained by being busy and ‘improving ourselves’. A better outlook on life, a new skill, a broader understanding, more knowledge and unusual experiences.
And maybe we do become better people by sharing information on social networks, starting a new hobby, taking another course, tweeting and texting and blogging and researching new ways to do things better and faster.
But maybe it’s time to stop.