Quotes From Canada; Gillian Deacon

18333473I recently read and reviewed Gillian Deacon’s book Naked Imperfection. Here is one tiny, little quote from that book that made me nod my head emphatically. This is my kind of thinking.

Busy is the modern epidemic.

She goes on to say that “being busy is a competitive sport”. If you ask someone how they are doing they are likely to tell you how busy they are, perhaps even listing off their activities. Then the other person (not you or I, of course) will then ‘compete’ by listing off all of the activities that are keeping them so busy. Why do people do this? I know that, for myself, I don’t like to be busy. I try to make myself as unbusy as possible.

In Naked Imperfection, Deacon found she had to slow down , even completely stop, her activities once she was diagnosed with cancer. It gave her time to think about whether or not all this busyness is even good for us in the first place.

What do you think?

Here’s what I think.

Also, here’s a good little article from Book Riot about people saying they are too busy to read.


29 thoughts on “Quotes From Canada; Gillian Deacon

  1. Cecilia says:

    YES – I am totally in your camp, Naomi. I used to be one of those busy busy busy people. My life has been a major turnaround since. I got burnt out if not downright traumatized, and I like to now keep things calm. Interestingly I do have a girlfriend who does as you mention – spells out all the things she needs to do, etc. She goes a hundred miles an hour. Being around her makes me feel stressed and so I sometimes don’t look forward to getting together with her…it’s a hard position to be in because she *is* my friend. I guess I just limit our interactions.

    • Naomi says:

      I know several people who like to talk about how busy they are, but, luckily, I don’t see them very often. I think they must be too busy to visit me! But, I don’t mind. 🙂

      Do you ever find yourself thinking you should be doing more when you are around her? Or are you thinking you are happy not to be as busy as she is?

      • Cecilia says:

        I used to be as busy as her (and know it won’t work for me anymore) so maybe because of that I don’t feel any pressure to do more when I’m with her. She is also stressed, so I can see the downside.

        I think it’s a good thing those busy people you know might be “too busy” to visit you, ha ha!

  2. My Book Strings says:

    That is so true! I know plenty of people who revel in being busy and love telling you about it. I’m busy, too, which is why I love taking time out on the weekends and focus on my family. But we get a lot of strange looks because we don’t shuttle our kids from activity to activity, but rather stay home and spend time together.
    I recently saw this quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder, so maybe “busy” is not such a modern epidemic; maybe it’s a trait: “We are so overwhelmed with things these days that our lives are all, more or less, cluttered. I believe it is this, rather than a shortness of time, that gives us that feeling of hurry and almost of helplessness. Everyone is hurrying and usually just a little late. Notice the faces of the people who rush past on the streets or on our country roads! They nearly all have a strained, harassed look, and anyone you meet will tell you there is no time for anything anymore.”

    • Naomi says:

      I love that quote! And, you’re right, people have probably always been busy. Just in different ways.

      Yes, the trick is to be able to take time out. We try not to sign our kids up for things on the weekends so we can get a breather (as the kids get older, this has gotten harder). This weekend we are going to be able to get away. One last camping trip before winter!

  3. Ariel Price says:

    That is definitely true! Every time my coworkers and I ask each other how we’re doing, this is exactly what happens. The problem, at least for me, is that I see other people working 50+ hours per week and I feel like I’m slacking if I’m not doing the same. I’m afraid that if people see me leaving on time for once they’ll assume I’m lazy. American work culture needs help!!

    • Naomi says:

      I can see how that would easily happen at work! And, I bet everyone is thinking the same as you. It’s a vicious cycle. I wonder what would happen if everyone just stopped worrying about what others think? (All at once, of course, which is kind of impossible.)

  4. ebookclassics says:

    Ooh, that competitive sport quote is so true. I’m trying to be one of those KISS people (Keep It Simple Stupid). I’m also very lazy, so that helps. 🙂 I’m embarrassed to say I used to be one of those people who said they didn’t have time to read!

    • Naomi says:

      Well, it’s good to know that there is hope for everyone who says that! You must have done a huge turn-around, because you read a LOT!
      If it weren’t for kids, we could probably do a better job at keeping it simple. I’m going to blame them for how busy I feel. 🙂

  5. Don Royster says:

    This reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit they used to do. Two construction workers would be up on a skyscraper, taking a lunch break.
    Worker 1: You know, I ripped a nail off my finger last night.
    Worker 2: That must have hurt. But I hit my head with a hammer.
    W1: That must have really hurt. I got punched in the stomach twenty-five times.
    W2: That must have really hurt. I fell off this skyscraper ten stories.
    W2: Bet that hurt. Yeah, well, when I fell off the skyscraper, only a rope around my neck stopped me.
    And on and on it would go. One competing with the other to see which had the most pain.

  6. Ngan R. says:

    Oh! I was just thinking of this phenomenon, Naomi, because I myself have been a culprit of often replying “I’ve been busy” to people’s questions about how things are going. I have been actively trying not to say this because I personally find it a pretentious thing to say. I don’t want people to feel like I don’t have time for them because I’m “so busy.” We’re all busy, but prioritizing my friends and family is important to me. I don’t want to be part of that modern competition. No thank you. 🙂 However, I will never be too busy to read! I love that Book Riot article link – thanks for that!

    • Naomi says:

      I think we all say it sometimes, because, really, a lot of the time, it is true! I wonder if reading counts as being busy? If I’m reading and the phone rings, can I say I’m too busy to answer it? And, I’m often too busy reading to clean my house. Priorites, right? 🙂

  7. whatmeread says:

    Hmm, I don’t know. I think for some people it’s competitive to compare how busy they are. But really, when someone asks what you’ve been doing, you immediately think of things that make you busy. Or you say “Nothing much,” which isn’t a very interesting answer. And maybe some people feel guilty about not being very busy or wish they were busier than they are. But I think she’s right that for some people there is a certain status to how many balls they’re keeping in the air.

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, there is definitely a difference between honestly telling people what you have been up to and listing off a bunch of things just to show people that you are busier than they are (why? I don’t know. Maybe to get out of volunteering at the school cafeteria.).

  8. kmn04books says:

    Thanks for sharing this quote, Naomi! I definitely agree with it. I’m not the type to list all of the things I have to do but I do feel the pressure of always having to do SOMETHING. However, what this usually means is I get burned out and totally unproductive as a result. I do know people who like to list EVERYTHING they have to do every time I talk to them, and to be honest, it really stresses me out just hearing about it! I think we all need to remind ourselves to kick back and relax sometimes. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      I agree. We all get busy sometimes, but competing about it is just not productive or fun for most of us. I think we should start having relaxing competitions. Who can relax the most, and for the longest?

  9. farmlanebooks says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog and thought this quote was really interesting. It is so true! Everyone competes to be the busiest and most seem to look down on the fact I have chosen to not run round everywhere, trying to cram a million things into each day. I prefer a slower way of life and most people think I’m lazy. Just sitting down to read a book seems to annoy most of the people round here – they are far to busy to do that. It’s such a shame.

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