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The ‘Busy’ Trap

So here we are again, it’s midnight (not posting, but the actual time of writing), I’m in bed, with my pencil, my journal, Classic FM in the background and an aromatherapy candle burning next to me.  Isn’t this just lovely!

My inspiration for today’s post came from a thought provoking article- ‘The Busy Trap’ on the NY Times website.  It’s well worth a read and it really got me thinking.

What is this incessant need to be busy all of the time?  Why, in this day and age do we feel we have to be ‘busy’ to be validated?  It’s as is if, if we’re not busy then we’re not successful or somehow not achieving in life.  I can say this with some confidence because the person in the article he is talking about, is in fact me!  Metaphorically speaking of course.  I sent this article to my Mum and a friend, both of whom replied- “It’s you!”  NOT a good way to be I don’t think.

I guess I get that from my Dad, a successful businessman who hates weekends, can’t stand bank holidays and loves nothing more than being busy and a reason to get up and out in the morning.  My Mum on the other hand is a hard worker, without a doubt, but doesn’t feel this incessant need to be ‘doing’ or ‘achieving’ all of the time.  What’s wrong with sitting down and reading a book for goodness sake?


The old me would have loved a sign like this on my office (ahem, bedroom) door, but not now of course… my door is always open. I am also a liar, with a long way to go on my way to mindfulness and inner calm.

It makes me wonder- am I making life unnecessarily busy?  Is there something I personally am doing to self-perpetuate this constant busyness?  I actually read that article in bed, on a Saturday morning and I was planning on doing some work that day, but after reading that I thought “Sod it, I’m going to do nothing!”  And that is exactly what I did.  I had a bath, I did some washing, I read the paper and I painted my nails (usually a twice yearly occurrence) and I have to say, it was really rather lovely.

My big question is- how do I become LESS busy?  The author of the article has had to become busier due to work commitments and I feel like that’s the predicament I’m in.  I can’t work 4/5 hours a day or take regular 3 day weekends, because we simply wouldn’t get through the work and the business would suffer as a result.  So, if we must put so many hours in, how can we achieve that relaxation?

I suppose then we look to our downtime and social life to help with this.  Packing a busy social life isn’t necessarily the key either though and I certainly don’t have the incomings to afford the life of the social butterfly that I’d like to be.  But I guess this is where balance comes in.  A healthy dose of social interaction and FUN as well as hard work and alone/ downtime is what is needed.

I think when we find ourselves afraid of our own company, afraid to admit we’re ‘not doing anything’ or afraid of having nothing to do, that’s when we must look to ourselves and work out WHY we need this validation and false perception of success and busyness.  I’ve come to the conclusion that only once we’ve worked out how to truly relax and be happy in our own company, can we ever really be happy in ourselves.  How can we ever hope to be content when we’re always looking for something bigger and better to do?

This column is turning into a bit of a journey of self-discovery isn’t it?!  I guess that’s no surprise at this time of night.  But I also happen to think self-discovery is very important too.  I have also just come out of a three and a half year relationship and it’s only natural for me to start to analyse things.

The question is… will I change or merely ramble on about it?!  Well, I have started meditating again, so that is a step in the right direction and my social media/ email addiction is also heading in the right direction.  So maybe a leopard can change their spots after all….

Hollie x

The Busy Trap By Hollie Brooks


6 replies to “The ‘Busy’ Trap”

  1. Natalie says:


    Thank you for broaching this subject! I have recently been labelled as ‘boring’ and ‘lazy’ after telling my colleagues my holiday to Egypt consisted of nothing more than reading 3 books and watching The Wire.

    The horrified looks and “you could have done that here” comments made my holiday feel pathetic and unadventurous compared to their breaks in Ibiza, Mexico and Vegas!

    After two days of this i thought…P**s off!!! I did exactly what I wanted when I wanted for a whole 7 days without worrying about washing up or dealing with issues at work!! I didn’t waste days being hungover, ate fabulous food and competed with my boyfriend at various ‘lazy’ sports including pool, table tennis, scrabble, Table Football and rummie.

    I literally had the holiday of my life and would do it all again…and I will proudly tell people I have done nothing for a week and I loved every lazy second!!

    Now I must get back to work and be finished before 7.30pm as I am meeting my friend for dinner…….



    • Hollie@MiaFleur says:

      Thanks Natalie! It sounds like you had an amazing holiday, with plenty of relaxation and ‘lazy’ activities, which I whole heartedly approve of!

      ‘We can’t change the world, but we can change the way we react to it’ I believe is rather apt here. How very philosophical, but true!!

  2. A thought provoking article. Hands up, I’m like you with being busy, always on the go. However, I find the busy time with the kids is the most relaxing as I enjoy their company and seeing them grow up. The busy of work melts away and is never on my mind when I’m with the kids. xx

    • Hollie@MiaFleur says:

      I’ll have to take your word for it on that one! But yes, I think the principal is the same, in the sense that there’s something for everyone which has that relaxing effect, it’s just finding what that is! x

  3. what a fantastic article a great you probaly have guessed yes i am always busy baking cupcakes amongst other goodies.but i am so relaxed when i am baking that the time just flies by.i love what i do and would have it no other way with also having a great westie dog he also keeps me busy but he is a lot of fun. life is all about enjoying it do the things that make you happy and the word busy will put a smile on youre the way where did you get the sign? would love one .love jenny at cupcake-cottage.

    • Hollie@MiaFleur says:

      Hi Jenny

      Thanks so much for your comment. Lovely to hear your thoughts on this. I’ve had a look at your site & your cakes sound delicious! I think you’re completely right, as long as what you do is fulfilling and you actually enjoy it, then being ‘busy’ is not such a problem. But having downtime is also very important!

      Hollie 🙂

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