Feel Good Friday: Beware the Busy Life

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Beware the barrenness of a  busy life. “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

Most people interpret this Socrates quote to mean something along the lines of “stop and smell the roses.” Which is a nice idea and an important reminder for those of us who haven’t slowed down since leaving labor and delivery.

And yet I think it’s more than that. I keep finding myself returning to the word “barrenness” over and over.

With that word, the warning becomes directed at those of us who create—whether we be creators of blogs, books, paintings, dinners, spreadsheets, goodie bags, or all of the above.

The overcrowded calendar and the overflowing to do list don’t just inhibit our ability to appreciate life; they also stifle our creativity.

Our words don’t pack the same punch because we’re rushing to write them.

Our plates are drab and unappetizing because we’re too tired to try a new recipe.

Our ideas aren’t as crisp because we don’t have the mental space to expand them.

This weekend, let’s all slow down—not just to smell the roses, but also to allow our creative juices to start flowing freely again.

Do you feel less creative when you’re super busy? 

image via Simon Forsyth

23 responses to “Feel Good Friday: Beware the Busy Life”

  1. Yes! This was such a good quote for me to see this morning, because I tend to find myself in a state of overwhelm often and I don’t know what to do with myself if I am not busy. Sometimes we need to relax, and just let life happen. And I do find creativity flows better when I get out and go for a run or a walk and I let my mind just think.

  2. It depends on what the busy list is. Sometimes that list or calendar is fuel for creativity, other times it’s not.

    Today we’re foregoing cleaning and organizing for hours in favor of exploring a spot I’ve been craving. It’s made easier by knowing that yesterday the laundry and dish piles shrunk greatly.

    • Yes, I often find that getting just a few items checked off the busy list gives me both the physical and mental space to create!

  3. I definitely get stifled when I try to pack too much in. Between working full time, writing for my blog as well as a separate parenting blog, singing in a band, and being a mom to a toddler I can let myself get pulled in so many directions that I stop enjoying quite a few of them. I have learned to step away from my blog when I can, but then I am limiting a facet of my creativity. I can’t pull away from the band as much since we are booked for gigs that I can’t just not show up for, but when I feel like I have to go I lose a bit of that spark. It’s a slippery slope.

    • Good point. There are lots of endeavors I’ve started to enhance my creativity, and then later realized I packed my plate too full, so my good intentions backfired.

  4. THIS! Yes, I totally agree and wrote about a similar topic recently. If we’re always running around like crazy people, multi-tasking and never taking a breath, we feel depleted and crappy and less productive. We need to give ourselves the time and space to rest to refuel our creativity banks. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  5. These are the times I employ a classic man/dad move: NOT multitasking. I can get more done, one thing at a time. I want to write that guest post, that freelance piece, that post for Monday, so when I do, i clear the deck, put on Beethoven, open a distraction-free writing app, and think of nothing else in the world – not even Kristen Bell.

    OK Kristen Bell a little. And pizza. And Ingrid Michaelson. But nothing else.

    Love this wisdom, Katie. It’ll be in mind this weekend. And put to good use.

    • Maybe your post is about Kristen Bell eating pizza while listening to Ingrid Michaelson, in which case all of your thoughts are productive! Not likely, though, haha.

  6. I’ve never really thought about this, but I do tend to have some of my best ideas when I’m driving or in the shower. Maybe that’s because I’m only doing one task, and my mind is free to wander. I’m looking forward to a much less busy summer, and more creativity!

  7. Yes, yes, yes! I’ll get super busy and just work, work, work. It’s when I get frazzled, stop and do something else that the creative juices start to flow. You’d think I’d learn this by now!

  8. If I have too much to do of anything – too many photos, blog posts, rooms to clean, etc. I get really overwhelmed and I freeze. I get paralyzed into inactivity. It’s so bad.
    If I have nothing to do, I get too lazy to do the few things I can do.
    There is a magical middle ground which is luckily where life usually is.

  9. This is a great quote, and one I had never heard before!

    I think it applies to kids as well as adults. With a life filled with scheduled play-dates, sports practices, dance recitals, and music lessons, there is no way some kids even get the chance to be creative – which is what being a kid is all about! They might enjoy some (or maybe even all) of those activities, but being shuffled to-and-fro doesn’t leave much space for downtime.

  10. Yes. When I am overloaded, it can be bad. Sure I can get “things done” but I like to be thorough.

    Recently I think I have taken on a bit more than I should have and I have been mentally struggling. It is kinda ironic I read this post tonight as I rushed (earlier) to make a deadline and felt sick about it!

    • I hate, hate, hate that feeling! I too like to be thorough and comprehensive, and that’s almost impossible to do when I’m rushing from one task to the next.

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