The Importance of Slowing Down in a Busy Bee Culture

Copyright JC Politi Photography

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

An article on the Opinionator blog of the New York Times called “The Busy Trap” is getting a lot of attention this week.

This article explores the notion that the frenetic pace so many of us engage in on a daily basis is self-imposed. While the author’s approach seems a bit self-indulgent and impractical, he has a point.

So many of us rush from place to place or appointment to appointment and collapse at the end of the day in front of the television in exhaustion. It appears that we are encouraging our children to do the same. There must be another way.

While I understand that most of us cannot live lives devoid of professional work, finding a balance within this reality has become my personal quest.

One of the lines that spoke to me in this article was this:

I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love.

Copyright JC Politi Photography

My most creative and innovative ideas come, not when I am rushing between meetings, but during times of relaxation, sometimes through exercise or through conversations with friends. I know I am not alone.

Some companies, I believe Google is one, reserve 20 percent of their employees’ time for creative endeavors that interest that particular employee. Some of the most innovative ideas have come from this unstructured time.

We all know this. And yet, we fill our calendars to the brim, feeling inadequate if we have a Saturday evening without plans. In fact, that Saturday evening may turn out be the exact time when you discover the key to your own fulfillment, simply by being, instead of doing.

Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.
Douglas Pagels

What do you think? What is it that makes us feel the need to stay busy? Do you think this has to do with a general discomfort with being alone? Have you struggled with this? Do you have any tips to help people stop the constant spinning?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.


Filed under Career Planning, Culture, Economy, Environment, Health, Parenting, Peace, Photos, Relationships, social pressures, Technology

54 responses to “The Importance of Slowing Down in a Busy Bee Culture

  1. You pretty much know what I think about this! I think we should all cut back on work, put it in its proper place, and make more of our increased leisure time! But your pictures help calm down those of us who can’t do this, who get too worked up about things going on around us we cannot control! Thanks. You are surrounded by beauty — I remember it well. 🙂

  2. This is a great post! I think that some (not all) of this need to feel busy stems from the crushing of creativity in schools. Are we teaching our children to think about things from different perspectives or think about things critically? I don’t think so…I think we need to encourage creativity and challenge students and workers to come to a conclusion through a path less traveled.

  3. no I love the slow moments in life

  4. I tend to believe that it is by slowing down that we’ll accomplish more collectively. With more people than ever on our world, and more powerful technology than ever, it seems thatwith the right approaches to living most of us could work a lot less. We’re not there yet, but I hold the vision that we could have a productive global culture without so much stress.

  5. Good stuff. I’m in a job where it’s definitely a rush between balancing 20 different things all at once. I find myself at my strongest when I get a better chance to seclude myself a bit, think and unload. Hard to get people to understand that.

  6. You make everyone reflective; thanks for your gift. Charlie Rose said on CBS Morning News the other day if he had a choice between taking a 20 minute nap or doing an extra 20 minute of research before a show, he would take the nap every time. He said he will be fresher and more lucid in his interviewing. I am reminded of a comment I read that everyone thinks they multi-task well and no one multi-tasks well. Let’s be present in whatever we do. You might miss out on something.

    • Thank you! I love that: Le’s b present in whatever we do. You might miss something.” And if Charlie Rose takes namps, I think I should too! 🙂 Thanks for your comment – and your compliment!

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  8. Hi … I’m new here and I just want you to know how much I love your blog. This was such a great post. I think there’s so many reasons people keep themselves busy and I definitely think one of them is the fear of being alone with themselves. I also think the continual need to “keep up with the Joneses'” still exists today. Everyone is trying to be the top dog in not only professional life, but family life (just wait a bus stop with a bunch of mom’s and you’ll know what I mean) or sports or whatever it is. I think we all need to be reminded of what’s truly important … it’s the things that truly last. Thanks so much for this. It was really awesome. 😀

  9. Pingback: Do you Prioritize Your Life or Your Work? Maybe It Is Time to Rethink | newsofthetimes

  10. LucilleSpann

    Great article! I definitely find myself going 100 miles an hour. While I understand the benefits of slowing down, I also feel that at this time in my life, it’s important to keep pushing. Because the world is so 24/7, slowing down typically means missed opportunities (relating to money, generally speaking). I will say though, that there is a HUGE benefit of taking time to smell the roses. A few weeks ago I went on vacation and left my phone off. I NEVER do this. EVER! Normally I am checking emails, tweeting, responding to comments, taking instagram pictures… the list goes on and on. But I decided to do it and it was truly the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had. When I came back to work, I truly felt re-energized. What I learned from the experience was, while there are times you can’t slow down, finding the time to do just that, can be extremely beneficial.

    • What a great story! Thank you for sharing. I, too feel the push and pull of wanting to excel and wanting to find a balance between the rush and the pauses. And I am working on turning e-mail off duing vacations. An opportunity for growth! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comnent!

  11. I think it’s all too easy to be overcome by the “busy-ness” of life and forget to take time to stop! Great post – I found you from the Truth and Cake FP yourself links!

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