It is a vicious circle in which many of us remain trapped and of which we are nevertheless unconscious accomplices. It simply starts from the learned and acquired idea that the busier we would be, the more we would theoretically be in demand and competent and therefore the more our value would increase. Results ? A phenomenon known as “busy bragging”, which has invaded Instagram as well as conversations between friends and meeting rooms. It consists in boasting of being constantly busy, to the point of not having a spare minute.
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On the art of being constantly busy
A phenomenon which, as reported by the Italian media The Vision, has greatly progressed thanks to the development of new technologies, which encourage workers to be ever more efficient, ever more dedicated and therefore ever more productive. Do you understand the infernal spiral? The more society asks of us, the more valuable we think we are, the more we respond to that demand. As a result, our success in life is measured by our ability to produce and the amount of commitment in which we invest. With all the consequences that we guess on mental and physical health.
Boasting of being permanently occupied would therefore become a way of acquiring a certain status within society. Therefore, while working hard and being constantly busy increases our social value, having plenty of free time – although considered a luxury for many – would still be symptomatic of an undemanding or even a bit lazy character. However, several studies have revealed the deception behind this masquerade. In “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time”, the American author Brigid Schulte demonstrated that, often in a company, inefficient but extremely dedicated employees are rewarded at the same level or even more than those who perform better. .
© Unsplash / Samantha Gades
Less efficient, more stressed
Ditto for the study of the Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, who demonstrated without surprise that absorbing a large part of the life of the workers does not guarantee more efficiency. On the contrary, it compromises it. After studying the habits of a group of musicians, the researcher found that the best performers were those who did not practice for more than ninety consecutive minutes and who benefited from rest time between sessions. It is scientifically proven, the worker who undergoes hours and hours of non-stop work loses efficiency and creativity, whatever the field. “All of this is dangerous”summarizes the writer Tim Kreider in his article The Busy Trap, “because it deprives us of free time, an activity essential to psychological well-being.”
The solution ? Embrace and revalue idleness. In ancient Rome, it represented such a privilege that it was forbidden to slaves. In 1880, in his pamphlet on “The Right to Idleness”, Paul Lafargue praised inaction to counter the Marxist exaltation of work and the resulting alienation. Even closer to us, in 1935, the philosopher Bertrand Russell considers those who manage to escape the crushing of the infernal machine of work as the most relevant in the field of cultural discoveries and in the activity of thought.
© Unsplash / Annie Spratt
Succeeding in solving our annoying tendency to “busy-bragging” already tickled the Guardian in 2014 which asked the question: “Talking about your hectic schedule makes you and others more stressed. So why is it so hard to resist?” Because – and this is the rub – we don’t do it consciously to impress others. This feeling of overload is very real in most people’s minds. So, since we can’t stop “bragging” about our schedule, the British media advises to:
1. Strive to separate your work life from your leisure time to prevent stress from seeping into every part of your life. A daunting task in the era of hyperconnectivity.
2. Being busy can actually be a form of procrastination. Spending time scratching things off our to-do list doesn’t necessarily take us away from our work. It can even drag us into more useless activities. We are therefore careful to ensure the relevance of what appears there.
3. The more you will have the reputation of responding quickly to emails, of fulfilling your tasks as a good little soldier, of being a useful pillar for your family or your friends, the more you will attract requests for additional responsibilities. The important thing? Find a way to consider certain activities a little less as obligations, and therefore no longer integrate them unnecessarily into our lives. Easier said than done…
Do you do busy bragging?
In a more playful way, but perhaps a little less tender, the magazine Entrepreneur lists the different signs that prove that you are not THAT busy. “If you get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, good for you. You’re taking care of your body and setting yourself up to be more productive. But your schedule probably isn’t that busy”, can we read. The average population (in the United States at least) works 47 hours a week, if you work less than that, you are probably doing “busy bragging”. The media recalls that it is not recommended to work beyond 40 hours, at the risk of overworking.
© Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema
Second, you don’t send and receive as many emails as your colleagues. You have no children (a considerable time burden). You regularly see your friends and loved ones to spend quality time with them. “The busiest people in the country don’t have time to spend time with their friends and loved ones. Their friends gradually drift away from them, and their romantic relationships and family ties suffer.”. You regularly go on vacation, and you had time to watch the latest episode of your favorite series. Like the next episode of House of the Dragon coming out next Monday. But maybe you don’t have enough time for these things?
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