Are you busy?
Posted July 5, 2012on:
Recently I read two articles that seem like polar opposites but I think they share a common core.
The first was The IRL (in real life) Fetish by Nathan Jurgenson of The New Inquiry.
Jurgenson wrote about how most people distinguish between real life and online life, and how most perceive the former to be better. Being “offline” (e.g., not Facebooking for a month) is almost a source of pride as if overcoming an addiction or being detoxed.
But Jurgenson made the point that the two are enmeshed (“Facebook is real life”):
Facebook doesn’t curtail the offline but depends on it. What is most crucial to our time spent logged on is what happened when logged off; it is the fuel that runs the engine of social media. The photos posted, the opinions expressed, the check-ins that fill our streams are often anchored by what happens when disconnected and logged-off. The Web has everything to do with reality; it comprises real people with real bodies, histories, and politics. It is the fetish objects of the offline and the disconnected that are not real.
The second article was The ‘Busy’ Trap by Tim Kreider in a New York Times blog. Kreider wrote about seeking solitude and having only weekly access to email.
The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
One article essentially says that there is no point trying to disconnect because you are already connected; any disconnection is only perceived and not real. The other article says that one should disconnect (from busy work) to reconnect with what is important (significant work).
What do they have in common? Whether you think you are too connected or too busy is a matter of mindset.
Making connections via technology does not make you busy or lazy. You make yourself that way. You also place the value in what you do.
Mindset affects behaviour and it is up to you if constant responding to email is important work or if frequent Facebook updates makes you happy. In the long term, both might or might not.
So answering the question, “Are you busy?” can be subjective. The answer depends on your mindset.
What are you busy with and why is it worth your time? I have my answers to these questions. Do you?