Busy, Busy

I read in Tools of Titans how some people are more productive when they listen to one song on repeat. The past few weeks I’ve tried this out and it has been working well for me.

I still have a few friends that aren’t reading my blog on a daily basis. I don’t mind it. They’re busy.

Busy.

I think this is the worst word and I hear it all the time.

“How’s everything? Busy?”

“Oh, yeah. Super busy.”

Why is that an indication of being successful?

Few weeks ago, I received a call from someone I hadn’t spoken to in a while and she asked the usual questions.

“How are you? Busy?”

I replied “No, not that busy.”

Her reply was interesting. She seemed to feel pity for me. Or some sort of sadness. Why?

Do I have to be busy to be successful? Is that what it means to be successful in 2017?

If that’s the case then I’d rather not be successful.

What do the most successful people desire?

Time. Time to themselves. Time with their families. Time with their kids. Their partners. Yet they’re always too busy.

I’ve stopped with this nonsense of saying I’m busy all the time. If you’re busy all the time then you’re probably horrible with your time. Or maybe you continue to put off the most important tasks and allow your time to be consumed by trivial activities.

I wanted to be busy. I wanted to be as busy as everyone I met. It seemed everyone I met at work events or conferences were always complaining about how busy they were. It was the beginning of my career. I would hear it all the time. I’m super busy. I’ve been so busy lately. Jam packed. Busy, busy. So busy.

Few years ago, I wanted to be that busy. Now? That’s the thing I fear most.

I don’t want to be too busy for the important things. Whatever that is to you. To me, the most important things are spending time with my loved ones. Reading. Meditating. Going to the gym. Sharing a laugh. When did it become the norm to be too busy to do these things?

Today, I was talking to my sister and she mentioned how in her previous job she disagreed with her employer because they didn’t allow a vacation day within the first year. She lives in another part of the world. She took a day anyway. She wanted to go away with her friends. She said, “When else was I going to have this opportunity?”

I’m so proud of her for that. I know she enjoyed that trip. It was one day but she used that day for herself. She knew she could get back to work on the next day and catch up. Who is so busy that they can’t catch up within a few days after missing a day?

We’ve created this culture where we must be busy.

Last summer I drove through northern France. Eliz and I stayed in Troyes. It was a beautiful, quaint city. I was shocked to see between 2-4 pm everywhere is closed. The entire downtown core was closed. Restaurants. Retail stores. It was all closed. This isn’t exclusive to Troyes. Many parts of Europe have this practice.

We look at that and think how could they do that? That’s so bad for the economy. How can they maintain with that kind of nonsense?

Well, I think they are doing it right. They are allowing people to go home. Have lunch with their family. Pet their dogs. Have a nap. Read a book. Run errands. Whatever it is. Imagine having 2 hours every afternoon to yourself. Do with that time what you will. Can you think of things you would do?

I can.

My entire life at this point is revolving around being able to free myself from the daily grind. I believe I’m laying the foundation. I like the way Troyes is doing it. However, I don’t want to settle for the afternoon. I want to free my time to do what I want. Day in and day out.

Today I met with a retired man that does my taxes. The more he spoke about his career and the path he took, the more I realized how different my way of thinking is. Even when I speak to my parents or my in-laws I don’t think they believe me when I say I want to retire in 4 years.

I listened to a new album today. There’s an interlude in the album where the artist is speaking to his mom.  He says he feels as if he has already lived his life and regrets his decisions and this is his second chance.

It resonated with me because I think I have the same mentality. I feel like I’m already regretting decisions I haven’t made yet. This may not make sense. I don’t know that it makes complete sense to me yet.

It’s like when I think about my decisions I think about what future Mehmet would think of it. Would he approve? This exercise helps, but it’s far from an exact science.

I believe that if you put enough good into the world. If you truly want something, tell yourself you want it and go after it, then everything will be alright in the end. However, we can’t continue to hope that everything will turn out okay. Hope isn’t a goal. Hope isn’t a plan.

Realizing that my ‘one day’ may never come lights a fire in me every day. I think this may be the single most important lesson I’ve learned. The one thing, above everything else, that has allowed me to put procrastination in its place.

If every day you acknowledge the fact that your ‘one day’ may never come, you will see everything differently. You will act faster than ever before. Untimely deaths, horrible accidents, unexplainable incidents happen. They happen all the time. Why do we all think we are immune to them?

I feel as if I’m fighting every day. Fighting for that minute. Fighting for that time. I understand the importance of it now.

Too busy.

Maybe we need to feel that way. We need to make ourselves seem important. We need to make ourselves feel that we are too busy to pursue our dreams. Maybe we tell ourselves we are too busy so we don’t have to think about what we want.

Have you ever thought about it? Seriously sat down and thought about what you want? What you want out of life? I didn’t until I was 25. I just imagine what I could’ve accomplished if I was 15 when I did this.

In any case, I still hear people say I’m young. I don’t feel that way. I feel as if so much of my life has already passed. Did I live the past 25 years as well as I should have? Maybe. Maybe not.

I met a retired high school teacher and told him I read 7 Habits of highly Effective People and how it was so enlightening. I told him I wish I had read it earlier in my life and he pointed out that maybe I wasn’t ready for it. I’ve thought about that. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I wasn’t ready to truly comprehend the ideologies in the book. Maybe that’s the case for all the books I read. Maybe not. Doesn’t matter now.

They say you’re as old as you feel. I’m 25. How are 25 year olds supposed to feel?  I feel like a 50-year-old. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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Author: Mehmet Akcagliyan

I am the Master of my Fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.

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