There. I said it. I intentionally choose to not get busy. I’m done with being busy. I quit the busy. Fuck you to the busy bees that buzz around in my conscience, nudging me to say yes, to do more, to do better, to stay longer, to start earlier, to move faster, to speak more, and on and on it goes. Like a merry-go-round, but it’s more like a busy-go-round. I just don’t do too much. I do enough. I do what is necessary, essential, and required. I do not do what is needed, wanted, desired, preferred, asked, demanded, or implored.
And yes, I do feel judged. I see the looks of shock when others hear about how I spend my time. Like when I spend Friday morning walking with a friend. Or Tuesday morning with a physiotherapist. Or lunch with my nephew. Or coffee with a colleague. I do this all, during the “working” hours. And indeed, I am judged. I am judged for not doing enough, for not being focused on my work, for not giving enough of my time, for not working enough to earn my salary. For not working, enough.
I have the privilege of working as an academic with enormous flexibility in my working hours, the autonomy to choose what work I do, and the freedom as a non-surveilled employee. I do not take this for granted. It’s just that I honour a quality, not quantity mantra. I prefer to do fewer tasks, but to do them well and in a way that aligns with my personal values. I am deeply committed to high quality learning experiences for my students, to nurturing and developing student researchers and consultants, and to promoting a positive workplace climate. If I cannot deliver these outcomes in a way that feels authentic, then I cannot take on that work.
To do this, I ferociously protect my time, to ensure my wellbeing has the oxygen, water, and sunlight it needs to flourish. I tend to my emotional, physical and spiritual needs to be able to do quality work. To accomplish this, I intentionally refrain from accepting more work than I am able to do — — that is, I do not agree to do work that would endanger my quality imperative or my commitment to personal wellness.
The next time someone asks How are you? Take a moment to pause. Ask yourself: Are you well? Are you doing quality work? Are you living your values every day?
For myself, I cringe when someone assumes I am “busy” because I work. I am not busy. I am well.
Thanks to Richard Lachman and Erica Naccarato who shared parts of their days today with me to connect, laugh and validate our human experiences. I deeply appreciated our quality conversations.