Thursday, January 08, 2015

Busy vs. Harried: 3 Questions to Determine Where You Stand

I know what living a harried life is. Not a busy life, which is being fully occupied, but a harried life, which is way too intense and the opposite of a calm existence. Busy and harried are not the same thing.

And speaking of intense, yes, I can be a little that.

Living that life was my own fault. Harried, I assumed for, oh, at least a couple or maybe three decades, went along with busy—especially in my job. My wonderful, blessed-by-it job. Harried was the price one paid for being so conscientious, so stellar, so busy . . . so worthy of the approval of others. I dare say harried showed up in other areas of my life as well. Just not as intensely. I think.

But three years ago, when I quit my corporate job, it was a surprise when my life became as un-harried as it has. Why had I not realized years ago that busy and harried were not the same thing? I don’t mean I should not have done my best, worked hard, met my obligations, been motivated to succeed and even advance in my corporate job. It was demanding, but I loved it and wanted to do well. And there is nothing wrong with seeking approval, to a certain degree. Now in full-time freelance work, I am still diligent, still conscientious, and still hope I do stellar work others will like. I am, however, no longer willing to live harried. And I don't plan to let my personal writing plans become harried either, which is another topic altogether.

Yes, personality figures into it. Being my own boss now rather than holding down a traditional eight-to-five, Monday-through-Friday job makes a difference too. I schedule appointments and agree to obligations with great flexibility. I faithfully meet deadlines in my work, but only ones to which I have agreed ahead of time. Being an empty nester is also a boon to the un-harried life. No little voices call for my attention on a daily basis. But for years I let myself be pushed—mostly by me—into an almost perpetual harried state. I wish I had asked myself these questions a long time ago: 

·         Am I not just appropriately occupied but harried?
·         If so, why?
·         What can I do to change my life from busy and harried to busy and calm? 

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