Keeping Busy

2 08 2010

I came across an article in my RSS reader this morning that completely supports my habits and needs for structure and activity: The Telegraph reports on the findings of Dr. Christopher Hsee of Chicago University that busy people tend to be happier. When I laid out my completely too organized for a guy without a “real” job schedule in one of my first posts on this blog, it really boils down to not losing time. I always worry about wasting time and I recognize how quickly a day can go by and nothing can be done. In fact, if something bothers me about the weekends, when things just naturally turn to running in a more relaxed way, it’s that I often find myself sitting around at noon without having accomplished anything for the day.

The thing I liked most about this article is that it stressed how unimportant it is that the activity itself has much meaning to it:

“Governments may increase the happiness of idle citizens by having them build bridges that are actually useless”, he proposed.

At the individidual level, he advised: “Get up and do something. Anything. Even if there really is no point to what you are doing, you will feel better for it.”

He added: “Incidentally, thinking deeply or engaging in self-reflection counts as keeping busy, too.

“You do not need to be running around, – you just need to be engaged, either physically or mentally.”

Often, I don’t feel like anything I do during the day is of tremendous importance and sometimes it’s very clear that I can just skip whatever I’ve planned to do without any tragic consequences. Except that it’ll put me in a bad mood when I think about what I did for the day and I think that’s the point that makes it all important enough.