I need to spend a real, unbothered moment getting things together. It's OK to get busy for a while, but if it gets in the way of actually getting things done, then what's the point? All the cheap valor of Hustle Culture, but no results, no execution.
Busy is such an effective excuse for not getting anything done. It's hard to question. Why didn't you finish that project? I was busy doing this and that. OK. Busy is a magic word. It can deflect criticism. It's currency. It pays for things you did, it pays for things you didn't do. It's legal tender in states of order and states of disorder.
Busy gets in the way. I don't have much use for it.
But there are many things to do. Best solution: throw them all out. Cut ties. Become a sādhu. Wander. Escape the never-ending cycle. &c.
Today, I think, throwing some things out is appropriate. Discover—or impose—order on the rest. Preparation and planning counts as not-doing, but it's in the service of doing better, eventually.
These are all notes to myself—something to lean on later as I stand at the top of each day, with all its time and possibilities laid out in front of me, right before I trip and fall ass-over-teakettle to the bottom, wondering how I got there so quickly with nothing to show for it. A few moments to scout—or build—a trail instead would be ever so much better.
I don't like to use quotes out of context, but here's the origin of "busy busy busy". In Cat's Cradle, it's not really about how busy anyone is, but about life is all the wheels within wheels within wheels—just wheels all the way down. It's not really about filling a bag of time with things, but noticing how intricately carved are all of the details of each individual moment.
Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle (1963)
One more thing—entirely unrelated. This is what it's like when you and your peers are asymmetrically busy at work: