Are we all too busy?
People ask me how I am enjoying retirement from teaching. My response is usually to complain that I’m busier than ever before. I usually add that I have no idea how I fitted in going to work. Many other retirees claim to suffer from the same dilemma. This strange malady, however, is not restricted to retirees. I find, as I talk to people, that it seems to be right across the broad spectrum of society.
Moira Allen, of Writing-World.com has written about this 21st Century problem in her latest email newsletter (Writing World 6:06):
I think we all have increasingly begun to suffer from
the plague of the 21st century: TOO MUCH TO DO. I have yet to
talk to anyone who feels that they have fewer demands on their
time than they did five years ago.
The Plague of the 21st century
She has dubbed it a plague. It seems like a illness that almost everyone has caught, but no-one seems to know what to do to fix it. Consider some of its symptoms as it relates to writers:
- An overwhelming desire to write 10, 12 or more hours daily to get in front of the pack
- A need to read countless emails or newsletters about writing to find those opportunities that will give one a much needed break one’s chosen field
- An urge to constantly research on the internet trying to find information that will make your writing shine, or rise above the common, ordinary work of others
- An urge to write pieces that exhibit perfection, constantly revising and polishing
- For bloggers, having a guilt trip if one hasn’t posted anything today – or even in the last hour or so.
I could go on and on.
But enough of my grumbling.
What can we do about it?
I’m pleased you asked. Here are a few of my humble suggestions on overcoming the plague of the 21st Century. Note: these suggestions are aimed at writers and bloggers in particular. They may not work for everyone, but they are at least worth a try.
- Switch off the computer. (Ooooh – that’s a tough one to conquer)
- Go for a walk.
- Do some stretching exercises
- Read a book
- Attend to your hobby (you do have a hobby?)
- Start a new hobby.
- Do a crossword.
- Smell the roses.
- Watch a bird.
- Weed the garden.
Then come back to your writing refreshed and invigorated.
It will show in your writing.
I would add a couple more to the list:
Learn to meditate – a great way to learn to stop the mental racing we all have learned to do so well.
Do something for someone else – gets us out of the insular world we build and realize hands-on that there is more to life than what we do day-to-day.
I think a big cause of this is that our ‘information age’ and reliance on electronic communications has led to our living more in our mental worlds than the physical world.
Good points Rick, especially the last one.