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Why people so busy?

Our small temporary office from a documentary film I worked on last year
In the winter of 1928, John Maynard Keynes wrote a short essay titled "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren". In 2028 he predicted people will only have to work for 3 hours a week - and probably, mostly by choice. In that time the development of technology must seemed so promising to cut our work time. Yet here I am, 87 years later, wondering why in our world right now everyone seems so busy. I spend averagely 10 to 14 hours a day working and it still seems like not enough. Even in the past few weeks, I feel like I've been so helpless against the time. No matter how many hours in a day I spend in front of my computer and on the phone, dealing with work matter, the piles of task keeps coming and my mailbox keeps busy. 

The Economist published an article in December 2014 on why we feel like the tick tock always ringing in our ears. What interesting in that article for me is about how our perception really influences us regarding this matter. When we translate time to money, that's when we'll always feel racing against it. The minute that we see ticking is calculated into the number of notes we can make. There was even an experiment involving 2 groups of people that linked the relation between work, money and anxiety. Working within film industry the working hour could be really tricky. When I was starting out, I was almost on the clock. Jumped on and on the go at any time, whenever I feel like I needed to get something done right away. That made me feel like I don't have time for a personal life. 

One thing that my uncle told me from time to time is that no matter what's happening on job, when it's time to eat go eat. In his words it means you have to take control over your work. Do not let the work control you. In the words of my dad, take control in the way you handle your work. So, when I've been feeling being taken over by work, it reminds me of those words of advice from my uncle and my dad. If this is happening, either the work load that I take is too much or there's something wrong in the way I handle it. And yesterday, I've become more realized about one thing. That I didn't make time for personal matter. 

I used to make to-do list each single day in this project. Email this, call that, go here, scout there, fly here, meet people there, but I don't include the essential small things on the list like eating lunch, coffee break or call my mom. And that's why I feel like I've been racing against the time. Looking at my to-do lists in the past couple of weeks make me ashamed because I didn't even think to make time for such a small things that actually important. And after work hour, two or three nights in a week, I decided that when a friend asking me to go out for dinner or movie, I won't reject as long as I can still tolerate my tiredness level. 

The older I get the more I realize how the word 'busy' has become a fluent excuse to myself for not investing time in friendship. And friendship is harder to come the older you get. I think at some point, the word 'busy' gives oneself some kind of position or status. When you're always saying you're busy, it seems like a lot of things are going on in your life, that sometimes translated into successful measurement. That when you say you're busy, it makes you feel like you have things that you have your pride on - for actually working on something. At least, sometimes I feel like I do. And being busy is not always a bad thing. For me it's dangerous when I can't take control over it. When I'm feeling like I've always been in a rush and do not make time for other things that are important in my life. 

Do you often feel like you're racing against the time too? 
What's your tricks to create a healthy working routine/environment for yourself?

p.s : more articles regarding in search of lost time 
Whatever happened to Keynes' 15-hour working week?
No time - How did we get so busy?
The morning routine series from creative souls
Praise for slowness in Kinfolk latest issue


  1. This is a really wonderful post. I always try to balance life and work because although I want to give everything my all, I never want work to come first. Thanks for this.

  2. That is great advice that you got. Thanks for sharing!
    I too forget these little things when making lists and end up feeling swamped. Creating a good work-life balance is hard. Personal things usually take a backseat.
    —DT | Here I Scribble

  3. Very interesting and very TRUE!!! We have become a society of crazed lunatics in a way...always running. I enjoy cultures that take it slow and make time for the simple pleasures in life. Thank you so much for the inspiration tonight and for passing on this message....Have a great day! Nicole xo

  4. very true. and thanks for the list of links. I think I will take the time to read them ALL!

  5. I am wondering if people could really be happy with only a 15 hour work week sometimes seems to me that we want to be busy even when we are complaining about it. But for sure balance is the key.

  6. This is a great post, Niken. You are so right, we are busy almost all the time. It can be quite overwhelming. I try to make as much time as possible for the little things in life that I enjoy. Reading a book, cuddling with the cats and bunnies, go for a helps to take a break once in a while.

  7. Well maybe in 5 or 6 years the techonology really can make our work only 2-3 hours a day. In bussinessman and writer, I feel im working 24 hours, but i love my job and i can spend my time with my family and lover :)

  8. i once used to work crazy hours but that got the better of me for the worst. being burnt out and always frustrated at something. i was always in a bad mood. i love the advice your uncle gave you. very wise. i used to always eat in front of the computer and learned the art of not chewing and eating everything in 5 minutes because i thought i didn't have time to eat. it catches up with you... health and other issues. i hope you find a good balance!

  9. It's because of all the distractions that we have now. I think most people lose focus on the actual work because of social media, internet, etc.

    And the mind shift has changed too. Everyone wants to be always doing something and keeping busy..otherwise you're perceived as boring?

    I'm guilty of it.

    But I always make time for lunch haha and my friends. I hate the excuse of friends of being busy. I get it. We are all busy but you can't be busy 365 days. At some point, you need to prioritize and make time.

    I am trying to be more aware of my habits and trying to (very hard) to cut off my social media time.

  10. This is such a lovely post! �� Time is something that has been on my my for quite a while now, and it's only recently that I've felt like I finally am making the most use out of my time. It's really a matter of prioritizing and making sure that you do what is important to you first before doing anything else, which is definitely easier said than done. It's a long-term process, trying to figure out what you want to use your time doing and what you don't want to use your time doing. �� In the end, making time for real relationships (friends and family) and taking care of your happiness and health should be more important than anything else in life.


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