Being “Busy” is Not a Badge of Honor

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”—Socrates

A typical day for me starts at 6 am. It seems early, but I’ve gotten used to it at this point. At first, it was because I wanted some time to myself when I was living with seven other people, but when I went back to school, it evolved into a time to get homework done. It became a necessity. It was extra time to get all of my assignments done.

I try to start my day with a five to ten minute meditation (it’s not something I always get to do), but it’s a good way to keep me grounded. I then get ready and go to work. My full-time job is at an addiction treatment center, doing insurance billing for our clients. I spend several hours on the phone each day talking to insurance companies, and making sure that the claims we submit get paid. This means spending the day repeating myself and arguing with insurance company representatives. The meditation definitely helps. 

After I finish working at the treatment center, I go to my second job: I teach yoga at CorePower Yoga, in Boulder. It’s one of my favorite times of the day; I get to connect with people, and offer them a space in which to work through anything they might beachbe dealing with, or to just guide them through some time to breathe. . .It is definitely the most satisfying part of my day.

After teaching, I return to my house where I begin working on my homework. I’ll usually do homework until 10:30 or 11:00 pm, and then I get ready for bed. I try to get to sleep around 11:30, so I can wake up and do it all again.

Now, this all might seem like a lot to pack into one day, and it is. But it is the way it is, for right now (only one more semester until graduation!), and that’s what makes it do-able. I would love to have more free-time, but I’ve signed up for all of these things, and when I make a commitment, I stick to it. It doesn’t leave me much time for a personal life, but it’s been worth it because I am actually pursuing the things that drive me and make me happy.

However, the older I get, the more I realize that I’ve been doing this for years – packing my schedule so tightly – because being busy felt the same as being successful. But it’s not the same. The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to realize that the business in my life  was actually my inability to say “no” to things, and to prioritize my own needs. It was me putting the needs of others above my own.

I would always say “yes” to the things that people asked me to do because I didn’t want to disappoint them, and because it felt good when I was able to get those things done. I felt like I was successful because I was cramming so many things into my day. But I was burying myself under work and tasks because I wanted to feel useful, instead of making sure that I was taking care of myself.laptop

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the things that I want, like being a yoga teacher, and spending time with my friends, are just as important as the things that others want. I’ve begun to prioritize the things that are important to me (and those that I love), which is why I decided to go back to school and seek a degree in something I’m passionate about. I’ve pursued teaching yoga because it’s something that has brought so much joy into my life, and I want to share that joy with others. I work full-time to be able to support myself and stay independent, which is important to me.mountain

So, while a day in my life might seem busy, it’s because I’ve made choices and commitments to better myself and to provide support for those around me. I’ve learned to prioritize the things that are important to me, and most importantly, I’ve learned to shed my old notions that being busy means being successful.

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Keira Mountain has always had a love for books and literature. She is a full-time student at the University of Colorado at Denver in pursuit of a degree in English Writing, and hopes to find a place in the publishing industry as an editor after graduation. When she isn’t in class or at work, you can find Keira on her yoga mat, teaching at CorePower in Boulder, reading or cooking.

8 thoughts on “Being “Busy” is Not a Badge of Honor

  1. I share your view, and admire how thoughtfully you expressed it. Super-busy is not where it’s at … being indispensable, the one whose contributions would be sorely missed, is everything … that’s where success lies. – tsk

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  2. This is a great perspective piece. I really enjoyed the peek into your day, and how you are managing such a busy schedule. There were a few shining moments of narrative here, and this line in particular: “But I was burying myself under work and tasks because I wanted to feel useful, instead of making sure that I was taking care of myself,” really struck a chord with me. I think there are a lot of people out there that can relate to this piece.

    Some suggestions:

    1. There are odd periods in places. ” homework. . I’ll” and ” breathe. . It is.” I’m wondering if this is just a glitch on WordPress somehow, but something to eliminate if you can.

    2. I am not a fan of the title of this piece. It seems to clash with the message, which is that your “busy” is purposeful. The title originally indicated (at least to me) that this was going to be about shedding some of the excess “work” in your life, but it was instead a story of embracing doing what needs to be done. I think both narratives are fine, but this title and the narrative that follows clash in their message.

    Great post!

    -C.Noble

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  3. This piece fits in very well with what you all are trying to do with Grateful Grit, and wow! Your schedule really is packed. I really liked how personal this piece was, and good luck with this next semester! It can’t be easy balancing all of this.

    A few suggestions:

    – There were quite a few comma mishaps where they were a little excessive. I’m not sure if it’s just the way I’m reading it, but an example would be in this sentence: “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the things that I want, like being a yoga teacher, and spending time with my friends, are just as important as the things that others want.” I’d replace some of the commas with parenthesis instead, but that’s just an idea!

    – Another thing I found was that a lot of the sentences started with “I”. I know that this is from your personal perspective, but they seemed a little overbearing on my end. However! This is just a personal preference on my end! When I’m writing, I like to backtrack and make sure I don’t start my sentences with the same thing too many times in one paragraph, so it might just be me overthinking again.

    Overall though, great post! I hope that after graduation, your schedule lightens up a little so you have way more time to cool down!

    – D. Skillings

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  4. As I continue to read the pieces your team has complied, I am impressed with how cohesive they all sound. Everyone’s post fits right into the idea you are trying to present on Graceful Grit. I enjoyed reading your post because I also work with insurance companies every day, and boy, is it stressful! I am having one of those days right now where everything is a constant fight (thank you, Aetna), and I took a few minutes out to de-stress by reading your post.

    Here are a few comments I have about your piece:

    1) You wrote, “…more I’ve come to realize that the business in my life…” I think you mean busyness. I read that sentence as, “…the business (corporation) in my life..”

    2) I agree that many sentences start with “I”. This post may benefit from rewording some of those sentences.

    Overall, your post is great! I completely agree that society has told us that being busy is the same as being successful, but is isn’t the same. We all need to take time out of our schedules to do something for us–something we enjoy.

    -K. Moffet

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  5. Kiera,
    I love the idea of your group’s publication, but I especially loved how your group does a little preview for what articles are coming up next and what to expect each day. This article is a cool glimpse into “a day in the life.” I liked how your piece shows the busyness of the day, but how you use the busyness to find purpose and meaning. It shows a personal journey, and I really appreciate your transparency and letting your audience get to know you a little bit through your writing.

    Here are my suggestions:
    1) There are a few errors in conventions with punctuation, but I try really hard not to focus on that when I read something for enjoyment (I’m an English teacher, and I try not to “red pen” everything I read). Just read through it again, and sometimes it’s easy to catch things that you might not notice when you write it. At least that’s true for me.

    2) I loved the use of the quotes below some of your images to “caption” the pictures with connections to your topic. This is a small thing, but maybe change the overall title to something catchy like the quotes.

    I enjoyed reading your article.
    –J. Montague

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