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Busy, busy, busy

Hectic family ILLUS.jpgIt’s a great time to buck being busy.

Brigid Schulte’s book “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time” has enjoyed a wave of media coverage.

I do my best to avoid busyness, but I did identify with several of the concepts she addressed. Like her, I feel like instead of having chunks of time to work on projects or enjoy leisure, I’m limited to “time confetti,” minutes here and there. I, too, am plagued by “mental clutter,” the to-do list that constantly runs through my brain. Like her, I feel the burden of household labor more acutely than my husband, even though we try to divide it evenly. Somehow he manages to read the newspaper over breakfast while I scramble to make lunches and get our sons ready for school. (I told him I would say so in this blog. He grinned sheepishly and said, “I’m more focused.”)

I’m not one of those high-performing “naturals” who effortlessly balance work and family, as highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article.  Outside of work, I don’t thrive with too much to do, too many places to be. My kids don’t either. If they had their way, they’d never leave our house. They balk at my suggestions to go to the park or OMSI. They’d rather play in the yard or create spaceships and robots out of egg cartons and yogurt containers. Once when I offered up an outing, my 8-year-old replied, “I’m too busy.”

And while I appreciated the sentiment expressed by KJ Dell’Antonia on The New York Times’ Motherlode blog, “I Refuse to Be Busy,” I honestly thought she sounded pretty busy. Four kids, each in a sport per season?

I’ve decided to adhere to the philosophy outlined in this article in The Guardian: “Most time management advice rests on the unspoken assumption that it’s possible to win the game: to find a slot for everything that matters. But if the game’s designed to be unwinnable, you can permit yourself to stop trying.”


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