The business of being busy

Very often when you try and arrange a meeting with an academic colleague the first available date seems to be more than a month in the future. Everyone is super busy, buried under mountains of marking, preparing for lectures, admin duties, writing grant proposals, vivas, other meetings and rushing about between conferences. Summer seems to offer no letup even though teaching is mercifully in a hiatus for some time. All the things one cannot manage during term get shoved into the summer. As though one can binge research in 2-3 months what one should be doing over an entire twelvemonth!
But such is academic life.

I don’t think this is great. I think we should have time to think and ponder, for our creativity to really flow. For both our research and our teaching.

There is a deeper issue here: Do we bear the badge of busyness with too much pride?

It seems to me that for some people the dashing about while juggling the many things they have to do gives them a sense of importance, perhaps a self affirmation. If we don’t have something to do every minute of the day we feel at a lose end. We need to radiate busyness with matters of global importance or we feel insecure about our place in the order of things.

But is it really cool that we never have enough time for leisure? That we can never slow down, or have a few minutes each day to think or just let our minds be blessedly blank of the endless to-do list?

I find myself doing this at times and I want to stop myself going too far down that road. I want to have time to smell the flowers as much as I want to solve the next global crisis.

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