As students and bonafide busybodies, we can stress out very easily. Yet the simple fact that we continually take part in activities that bring us physical and mental strain is outright mind-boggling. For some, it’s not a choice; they have to stay busy to provide for themselves, provide for others, or stay on top of schoolwork.
The New York Times addressed this condition of persisting and unrelenting busy-ness in their June 30 2012 article titled “The Busy Trap.” In it, they explained their take on the “Busy Trap,” or the idea that we must remain in a state of constant preoccupation. Author of the article, Tim Kreider, describes it [The Busy Trap] as “purely self-imposed,” saying that these activities we’ve taken up are utterly voluntary.
Effects that come from such a snare of preoccupation are twofold. First and foremost, our need to continually do things has put the quality of our work on the decline. In trying to do more, we are theoretically doing less. If we can simply do less and focus more on quality over quantity, however, this can be rectified quickly and without much strain.
The second effect of the Busy Trap would be our satisfaction with being stuck inside it. Put simply, we’ve become accustomed to doing more things, and therefore have become comfortable within the Busy Trap. To be able to actually do fewer things and focus on the quality of our work, we have to first fix our mindset and allow ourselves to have free time.
Even with evidence of the Busy Trap’s destructive capabilities, some still argue that there is no true damage from it.
Yet NPR put these accusations to rest, proving the Busy Trap to be a very real, stress-inducing mindset. On Oct. 30, 2013, they released an article saying that 4,600 young people (age 16 to 24) are killing themselves every year from stress alone. In many cases, the surveyed individuals in this age group have stated that they were pushed to their limits because they never had time to relax.
In other words, these young people had fallen into the Busy Trap.
Now, there are several ways to be able to easily give ourselves a break. Watching television, taking a vacation every now and again, or even daydreaming can alleviate the stress we’ve taken on upon ourselves. A Sept.16, 2009 article from Psychology Today praises the act of daydreaming, naming it one of the prime sources of innovative ideas and stating that “[Daydreams] can be and are the most powerful form of motivation any of us will ever know.”
Once we can achieve these things, the Busy Trap will be nothing but a myth people once thought to be true. This is not a call to being lackadaisical, but rather an opportunity to realize how beneficial and utterly satisfying finding small increments of time for us can be. The question to ask ourselves is: in the midst of our struggle, why not do all we can to alleviate the strain?
Through adjusting our mind frame on the subject and doing less things, we can eradicate this idea. Accomplishing these simple tasks could just be the key to unlocking this trap and setting us free.
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