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How are you? Busy? I can relate. But there are two kinds of “busy.” Which one are you?

There was a recent New York Times essay (The Busy Trap) about people who are anxious and unhappy because of the demands on their time. It describes people who seem overscheduled and overwhelmed, who are unavailable to their friends and family, and whose busyness is fueled by anxiety and dread. The article has inspired many online and offline conversations over the last few weeks. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Mr. Kreiger’s essay and agree with several important points:

  • Busyness can prevent us from getting our real work done – what I call our “significant results.” His description of “space and quiet idleness” provides the necessary conditions for achieving our goals.
  • Being “busy” is sometimes inflicted on us by technology such as email that demands we give it our attention.
  • Being busy is not the same as being productive.

This, however, leads Mr. Kreiger to a doomsday conclusion of a life of emptiness. Or one that is silly or trivial, where busyness leaves everyone feeling sad or cranky.

If you aren’t in control: control over your attention, control over your technology, control over the details of your life, then Mr. Kreiger’s conclusions are likely true for you.

However, there is another kind of busyness, one that is fueled by ambition and drive, the positive consequences of which are most experienced by those who have mastered their ability to control their attention.  Read the next post for the positive side of the “busyness” coin, the concept of “mindful business.”

Thanks for reading this post, written while at BlogathonATX.