Projects, people and passions can keep us on the move, but there is a distinct difference between busyness and productivity. Productivity feels like you do not want to stop. Busyness feels like you cannot stop.
Chronic busyness is rampant today, even though we know that it isn't good for us. Why do we keep ourselves excessively busy? There are three big rewards we get out of it:
1. Fulfills the ego: Like sociologist Brene Brown's take on comparative suffering, our busyness has become an acute measurement of our entrepreneurial worth: "You stayed up all night? I've been up for 72 hours straight working on my business." What we tend not to brag about is efficiency, as the wiser person may have paused, strategized and executed the same goal in a shorter period of time. It is definitely the age of the hustle, but I'd love to see us upgrade to the thoughtful hustle: How can we maximize our time? Busyness for the sake of busyness isn't it.
2. Fulfills the guilt: Feeling guilty when we actually do take a break is common, particularly during crucial periods. Even notable entrepreneur Elon Musk famously said he is afraid of vacations. However, it is during the pivotal points in your business where you actually need to pace yourself to stave burnout. You can minimize your guilt by having a structure in place that actually allows your business to continue uninterrupted while you are away.
3. Fulfills the silence: Being still often scares us, as it can make us feel anxiously bored and even to think about the things we've been avoiding with busyness. There is so much to be discovered when we allow ourselves to stop and quiet down. In fact, we may suddenly be given an elegant answer to the challenge we've been so busy trying to conquer.