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Busyness… is an illness.

June 19, 2017

To become truly great at something, you have to dedicate shit-tons of time and energy to it. And because we all have limited time and energy, few of us ever become truly exceptional at more than one thing, if anything at all” – Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck)

Torah Portion (Parsha) Korach in a nutshell from

Korach incites a mutiny challenging Moses’ leadership and the granting of the kehunah (priesthood) to Aaron. He is accompanied by Moses’ inveterate foes, Dathan and Abiram. Joining them are 250 distinguished members of the community, who offer the sacrosanct ketoret (incense) to prove their worthiness for the priesthood. The earth opens up and swallows the mutineers, and a fire consumes the ketoret-offerers.

A subsequent plague is stopped by Aaron’s offering of ketoret. Aaron’s staff miraculously blossoms and brings forth almonds, to prove that his designation as high priest is divinely ordained. 

G‑d commands that a terumah (“uplifting”) from each crop of grain, wine and oil, as well as all firstborn sheep and cattle, and other specified gifts, be given to the kohanim (priests).

Nobody is too busy, it’s just a matter of priorities” – unknown

As I have mentioned in the past, often I notice a few articles, posts or words of inspiration on the same topic. These last few weeks have been very tough with the terrible, shocking news of deaths and illness to people that we know. I have been walking around in a bit of a dwarl.

In an article in The Age by Annie Brown[1] – “Of Work-life balance and other luxuries”, Annie talks about people using busy-ness as a status symbol, and I am guessing there is no work-life balance?

Yavneh principal, Cherylyn Skewes mentioned in the school newsletter that a wise colleague spoke of “manufactured busyness”- if you aren’t busy then you need to make like you are busy to belong in the 21st century.

Rich Roll, posted an article[2] by OMID SAFI –  “The Disease of Being Busy”, the question is asked – How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?  This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

We all often get opportunities to grow and learn, but waste time or pretend to be busy. In Rabbi Frands[3] Torah Portion commentary, he says “When someone has such a limited amount of time and opportunity, one must make the best use of that time.” He goes onto to say “I was looking through some old notes of mine and I found on the back of my notes what I told one of my sons on the day he started ninth grade in Yeshiva. I told him he should try to learn sixty minutes an hour. That is the definition of a masmid [a diligent student]. A masmid is not necessarily someone who learns 18 hours a day. A masmid is someone who learns sixty minutes an hour, for however many hours a day he is able to devote to learning. Do not waste your time.”

I was recently listening to champion CROSSFIT athlete, Jason Khalipa on the Tim Ferriss Podcast. Jason talks about the AMRAP mentality. Those familiar with CrossFit would 1st know who Jason is and 2nd know that AMRAP means “as many reps as possible”, but Jason applies this to what he is doing and to life in general – What the link? He says that when you are doing reps at the gym, you don’t answer your phone. He says that when you are doing one task, then you need to focus on that and not worry about other external distractions and in life, you need to decide what is important to you and focus on these things. For him, the priorities are FAMILY, FITNESS and BUSINESS. We all get too distracted on “the CRAP” as my Mom would say, and pretending to be busy.

In an absolutely brilliant article[4] by Ryan Holiday, “28 Lessons from Great Writers, Artists And Creators On Mastering Your Craft”. I think that 2 of his lessons are applicable to this BLOG:

  • Lesson 7. Say Little, Do Much — If you are a writer, don’t be the person who tweets “I’m working on my novel.” Be too busy writing for that. Helen Simpson has “Faire et se taire” from Flaubert on a Post-it near her desk, which she translates as “Shut up and get on with it.
  • Lesson 9. Do The Deep Work — You need to develop routines and practices to arrive at that place of intense concentration and cognitive focus where real progress is made. Producing a book, that takes deep work. Developing a new insight in science or psychology—that’s the product of deep work. An easy place to start? Remove all time-sucking apps on your phone. See how much better you feel and how much more you’re able to accomplish.

I am not sure that I have the answer how we get away from this “busy mentality” and focus on the important people and things in our lives. I will share 2 ideas from articles I have shared:

  1. Marc Chernoff shares his ideas in an article[5]One Big Reason Your Life Is Harder (And Busier) Than It Has To Be”. He says:

Ready for a positive change in your life?

Join me, and let’s wake-up every morning from here on out and mindfully let our needless busyness and stress GO!

Let’s start making every moment less busy and more beneficial 

Let’s start keeping our lives ordered and our schedules under-booked. 

Let’s start creating a foundation with a soft place to land, a wide margin for error, and room to think and breathe. 

So we can pause to hear the music for a moment, and smile when the opportunity arises. 

  1. Author, OMID SAFI says “I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.”

“Here’s the thing:  Busyness is NOT a badge of honour.  There’s no honour at all in endless busyness.” – MARC CHERNOFF[6]

 To end I just took myself off to see the wonderful Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. I think this quote from Van Gogh sums up our need get away from this busyness and “smell the roses” – “it is something to be deep in the snow in winter, to be deep in yellow leaves in Autumn, to be deep in the ripe wheat in Summer, to be deep in the grass in Spring.” – Vincent Van Gogh, Nuenen, 1885








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