What constitutes ‘busy’?

I’d say I’m a pretty busy person.

I’m currently halfway through my second year at uni and am ‘overloading’ this semester – meaning I’m taking on more than the usually allowed credit points per semester. My reading, homework and assignment tasks have begun abruptly and are quite time-consuming. I’m working at uni again running study/tutoring sessions in difficult units that I studied last year. This is the same job I had at the beginning of the year but I’ve taken on more classes, including online sessions that have required extra training and planning. I’m in another musical which I absolutely adore but does require 10+ hours of rehearsals a week. I still hold my three volunteer positions with various theatre related companies, one of which will require a fair bit of time this week as their annual production opens on Friday. I play netball on Wednesday nights and my current health kick sees me visiting the gym about three to four times a week. I still umpire netball on a casual basis and starting in August I have another job working with a local primary school once a week. On top of all this, I find time to eat, sleep and maintain a social life.

To me, this is just business as usual. I’ve found I function best when I have a lot to do because it forces me to stay organised. This doesn’t mean I’m always 100% productive and on top of things but it has come to be what I consider normal.

But am I busy? My general answer to the question “how are you?” is usually something along the lines of, “not too bad, keeping busy” – but is that true? How little leisure time does one need to have before they are considered busy?

The responses I’ve had from people when they find out all the activities I’m involved in have varied. Whilst some say they don’t know how I keep up with it all, my ever-sensible mother has less sympathy.

But do I deserve any sympathy? Is being busy something to be pitied? In my case, it’s certainly preferable to the alternative. I can be quite frightening when I’m feeling bored or stir-crazy (whilst some people boredom-clean or throw themselves into artistic projects, I am more predisposed to wander the house aimlessly, have strange energetic outbursts and sing at people). I’ve found with my increased commitments this year my tendency to procrastinate – whilst still quite existent – has lessened. I’m developing better skills of prioritising and time management, though I’ve still got a fair way to go.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy to take on so much. Every time I lock in a new commitment I have a moment’s panic that that activity will be the final straw that triggers my imminent nervous breakdown. But the moment passes and I slot the new task into my ever-changing timetable.

So is busy a description of a situation or a state of mind? I could probably immediately change my own perception of my timetable by referring to myself as ‘involved’, rather than busy. When I was in Year 12 – and for that matter, through most of my high school years – I refused to use the word ‘stress’. I was convinced that being stressed was a choice rather than an inevitable condition and so I never allowed myself to use it; and I’d like to think I got through VCE relatively unscathed and with good grades as a result.

I suppose ‘busy’ will just have to become my new ‘stressed’. Don’t name the disease and I won’t feel the symptoms.

Off now, must work in an hour.


One thought on “What constitutes ‘busy’?

  1. I agree with “I’ve found I function best when I have a lot to do because it forces me to stay organised. This doesn’t mean I’m always 100% productive and on top of things but it has come to be what I consider normal.”

    I guess it does force you to be more efficient with the spare time you have & in time to come, more productive on a habitual basis. A fulfilled life is nothing pitiful =)

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