Yes, I Really Am That Busy

There was a time, not so long ago, when I was busy, busy, busy. At least I thought I was.

I told people I worked 60 hours a week. I claimed to sleep six hours a night. As I lamented to anyone stuck next to me at parties, I was basically too busy to breathe. Me time? Ha!

Now I work 45 hours a week and sleep close to eight hours a night. But I’m not getting any less done.

Laura Vanderkam is an author of a book about how you probably have more time than you think. We want to go to the gym, but we just don’t have time! We would cook dinner every night if we just had the time! Vanderkam argues in the WSJ that it’s not that we don’t have the time, but we’re not making these things a priority. She also argues that it’s likely that we perceive time in our minds incorrectly: “I would have guessed I spent hours doing dishes when in fact I spent minutes. I spent long stretches of time lost on the Internet or puttering around the house, unsure exactly what I was doing.”

Maybe this will make me sound like a jerk, but I am one of those people who feels like I’m really busy, and I don’t think I’m lying to myself about that. I probably wouldn’t tell people that I work 60 hours a week—because, way to #humblebrag about having a job—but I am working a significant amount of time because I have more than one job (#humblebrag). I will concede that people do have issues with time management, and I used to be one of those people. It really is about prioritizing—if you’re losing long stretches of time on the Internet instead of doing whatever your job is, that’ll explain why you feel like you don’t have any time to get things done. But don’t forget to read The Billfold! It’s a priority.

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9 Comments / Post A Comment

Sarah H. (#408)

It is so strange how life becomes a competition to see who is the most stressed/sleep-deprived/over-caffeinated/over-worked. I remember in college around finals time, people would actually get in little arguments about who stayed up the longest studying!

Life’s too short, folks, and no one is impressed. If you’re busy, be busy, but don’t strive for that goal because you think it will make you seem better or more accomplished.

@Sarah H. sounds like you’re jealous that you didn’t win the competition of who stayed up the longest studying!

DickensianCat (#971)

@redheaded&crazy I actually had to put clothespins on my eyelids to keep them from shutting on a two-week, no-sleep study bender.I would also slurp crushed up bottles of adderall in my morning smoothies. And then my heart exploded and now I’m typing this from beyond the grave! It wasn’t that big of a deal.

@DickensianCat you’re an inspiration to us all.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Sarah H. Yeah, it’s sort of like the, “All I’ve had to eat in the last [long period of time] is [a very small amount of something weird and/or non-nutritious]” game that some people (sadly, mostly ladies) play.

Sarah H. (#408)

@redheaded&crazy Pssh, no! I was much more into staying up all night dicking around on the internet to avoid said studying. I think I both won and lost…

I always read people bragging about how many hours they work/study as saying “Hey! I’m really inefficient!” not “Hey! I’m really driven!”

mishaps (#65)

I have worked with a few people who believe in all-nighters and all-weekend work marathons. I’ve come to realize that while sometimes those are important and useful things, they are far, far more often the result of insecurity.

People think “I did all this work, it MUST be better work!” But exhaustion is not your friend. More work often means a lot of mediocre work, done at the cost of your personal life.

Evie (#995)

Reading the Billfold actually IS a priority for me! Way to go. Love this site.

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