The art of not being busy

We all want to be busy all the time, but is being busy really equivalent to being productive?

The art of not being busy

My partner and I moved into a new apartment last week. There's one thing about moving that is undeniable:

Moving sucks. It takes time. It's a lot of busy work. It's not fun. Nobody likes moving.

There was a moment yesterday, where I was sitting in a chair, in our new apartment, just zoning out. My partner asks me, "is everything ok? You seem a bit off." I was stressed out – my mind comprehending the to-do list in my mind and trying to figure out where to start. Complete system failure.

Actual footage of me, in that moment

I was overwhelmed. We bought a new table that had a few scratches on it that I now needed to refinish. I had made some scratches in the hardwood floors as well from moving  furniture. We have several boxes of books, and zero shelving. Our new apartment was a mess. I told her, "yeah, I'm just overwhelmed. Seems like there is an endless number of things that need to get done."

"Well at least you have things to keep you busy now," she said. What I heard was, "well now you have things you could be doing instead of playing Fortnite."

Truth is, I'm not a busy person. I space my appointments out A LOT. I have a flexible schedule and I don't like to overbook myself. And yeah, I like to play Fortnite. I'm also a co-founder of a start up. I do some freelance design on the side. She doesn't see the value in video games, and I totally get it. It seems to be a general assumption that playing video games is a waste of time, and so in that moment, I folded into self guilt and accepted my fate of forever being too busy to play video games... You're right, I should do productive things instead of playing Fortnite. Welcome to adulthood, Bryan.

I thought about this further. People nap, people watch tv, people go to happy hour after work. People do things that aren't always productive. So why do I have to give up video games to fill my time with more productive things to do?

What I realized, is we live in a culture where busy-ness is a measure for success. We feel the need to always be busy, always be filling our time, do more stuff. We value people doing things and looking busy, more than we value people actually accomplishing things in a timely manner, or making time for themselves. If you're napping during the day, or you're playing video games, or spending time with your kids, you're not working. We literally measure productivity in hours, not in efficiency.

I thought of a conversation I had a few days ago with my good friend, Jeff. We hadn't spoken in a while so we were catching up, and he asked me about my work: "So what are you guys trying to accomplish with your app? How do you want to change the world?"

My response was this: "We live in a time where work culture revolves around being busy. Our goal is to help you focus on your work, so you can get it done and get back to your life. Get back to doing what you want to do."

This is when I realized the work problem I was trying to solve was also applicable to the life problem I was having as well.

Our mission statement for Tability when we started was exactly what I told Jeff. It's about work-life balance. If you get done with your work early, go home, go enjoy life. Don't try to fill that time, just because it's not 5 PM yet. It's about efficiency and focus. If you're done with work, go take a nap, go play Fortnite, go hang out with your kids.

So yeah, I'm not looking for more things to do right now. If you've ever been part of a start up, you know this. If you've ever moved apartments, you know this. There's always more things to get done - so focus on the most important tasks, stay efficient, and get back to the things that bring you joy. It's all about doing the right work, being efficient, and staying focused. We hope Tability can do this for you.

Okay back to work, so I can have some time to play Fortnite later ✌️