I want “busy” to die. “Busy” destroys people. “Busy” is the reason I wake up feeling tired. It’s the glorious drug of distraction and the ubiquitous excuse for masochistic scheduling.
I’m not talking about “having a lot of stuff to do” or “working non-stop from morning to night” because I do those things. I love those things. It’s that “busy” feeling that I hate. The one that keeps you from taking a break, eating outside or stopping in for a random chat.
Well friends, I captured a brain demon of “busy” today! I figured out one of it’s evil tricks! Maybe it’s attacked you too? I call it the Mental Checklist Goblin Deathtrap. It goes a little something like this:
I was in the shower this morning, which usually represents a peaceful, creative cocoon wherein I can relive my flying dreams or think I sound good singing Johnny Cash. When all of a sudden pop Oh, I need to send an email to a student about their schedule. pop pop Oh, I have that presentation this Friday and I need to print out some script sides. pop pop pop Shit, I haven’t emailed my group yet, I need to remember to bring that script to class and shit, we’re out of milk! pop What time is it? pop Oh, I need to send an email to a student! pop …um…have I washed my hair yet? I don’t remember…
This is what an attack of the Mental Checklist Goblin Deathtrap feels like. Let’s see what we’ve accomplished:
1. Ruining a potentially relaxing moment alone.
2. Getting stressed out about all the projects I need to do.
3. Not actually moving forward on any of said projects.
Basically, I run through my brain, gathering little ounces of stress from all my to-dos – which leaves me no closer to getting anything done – rather it adds an extra pound of unneeded stress to my day. So now, not only do I have a lot to do, I also feel “busy”. Consequences of “busy” include being a little colder to everyone, getting annoyed at unimportant things and a having lower threshold for achieving a truly bad day.
This might not happen to you. If so, awesome! You are either a) smarter than me or b) reveling in the fact that you aren’t in graduate school.
If it does happen to you, you’re in luck! Because I figured out how to avoid the Mental Checklist Goblin Deathtrap! Check it out:
Step 1: Write tasks down.
Step 2: Remember that you wrote tasks down.
Step 3: Tell yourself that you have enough time to get everything done (this isn’t a lie, you really do have enough time, I promise)
Step 4 (optional): Sing Johnny Cash.
You might need to figure out some steps on your own. They might include deep breaths, some sort of tea or a different iconic country singer, but those work pretty well for me.
In the end, “busyness” may be an inextricable part of being close to the fire, but I hope not. “Busy” should not be a way of life. It’s a plague wrought from insatiable distraction and instant communication. The Mental Checklist Goblin Deathtrap is a terrible little minion that we can kill together! It’s not much, but I need to level up before I enter the Bayou of the Impending Apocalypse or the Giant Fortress of Existential Angst.