Too Many Projects, Too Much To Do – Really?

I was going to post this collage yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Overwhelmed with too many projects, with too much to do.

But then I remembered something I recently saw scrolling past online:

People compete over being busy; it’s about showing status. “If you’re busy, you’re important. You’re leading a full and worthy life.”

(Brigid Schulte, in this article)

Gah. Is that what I’m trying to say here? Am I trying to show off how terribly busy, therefore terribly important, I am?

Actually, no. That wasn’t my intention when I took those photos. It was really more by way of an excuse: See, because I’m already so very busy and so very overwhelmed, that’s why I still haven’t finished Star Bright. Why I haven’t read all of your blogs and left profound comments. Why I don’t post more fascinating articles on fairy tales, or Jane Austen, or How To Be a Better Writer and Human Being In General. Why my front (and back) yard is a mess (never mind the inside of my house). Why I haven’t had you over for dinner, or sent you birthday cards on time. Why, in short, I haven’t done all those things that I think I ought to be doing, that I think all of you are doing (I have proof, from your blogs and Facebook and Twitter and all), that would make me an accomplished and worthy person.

It was a plea for validation: Look, I really am busy! I’m not a slacker, honest I’m not!

Brigid Schulte again:

Psychologists treat burned-out clients who can’t shake the notion that the busier you are, the faster you work; the more you multi-task, the more you are considered competent, smart, successful. It’s the Protestant work ethic in overdrive.

Being overwhelmed as a status symbol – as a sign that I am, indeed, a worthwhile person, as valuable as you.


That is not how I want to live my life. And not the image I want to project outward here.

But what, then, is the way to live?

Maybe a small first step is to become aware of this attitude, and consciously reject it. Slow down. Slow food, slow life, slow writing. Slow gardening? Staying put instead of running.

Maybe it’s a start.

Life, the Universe, and Being Overwhelmed. Will you join me in rejecting that status symbol?

8 thoughts on “Too Many Projects, Too Much To Do – Really?”

  1. Man, the hard part about slowing down is that it’s difficult to know where to begin. What do you cut out? Where do you start slowing down? When I’m super busy, everything gets to be top priority, which makes it hard to deconstruct my to-do list and put off things that only I find important. It’s a bad habit I need to break.

    1. I hear you! It’s ALL important – or so it seems. Somebody once talked about “the urgent crowding out the important”; I find that’s especially true for writing, it always lands in last place. Let me know when you find a way to deal with it!

  2. I have such a difficult time with this! All my life, I’ve always done my best work when I feel under pressure … but that’s obviously not the healthiest way to live. This year, I’m trying to improve how I prioritize my tasks and to focus on limited projects at one time. If I don’t do it, either “life” or karma (often in migraine form) forces me to slow down anyway.

    1. I don’t actually work well under pressure – but sometimes, that’s the *only* way I work. Not sure how to deal with it… But yes, our bodies have a way to say “No! Forget it! You WILL slow down now!” It’d be much better to learn how to do it without being forced.

  3. Ugh, I know right? Usually I have this list of things at this time of year…the same list: spring cleaning, gardening, writing projects, knitting projects, reading/study projects, and then the banal daily items of laundry and cooking. It’s like a mad rush, and nothing about it feels very “important” or prestigious. It’s just the spring work overload. Hopefully it will be gone by May. Lol. All I can say is press forward, m’lady. Thing is, what you do every day actually IS important. 😀

    1. I don’t think it’ll be gone by May – it’ll just take on greater urgency (“Ugh, it’s May, and I haven’t done the stuff I was supposed to do in March!”). Gotta make those choices about what’s going to stay undone…

  4. Is it the Mary/Martha story of conflicting values? Maybe look for quiet moments in between, to center and breathe and like you said, slow down…That being said, I need to be more like you, so I can get more things done!! I find it all too easy to overlook all the stuff that needs doing, and instead read a book, or have a talk, or play a game or….!!

    1. We can definitely learn from each other – I need to learn to ignore things and not always live in the realm of “shoulds” (German “Schuld” = debt or guilt…).

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