I’ll be the first to tell you that I have a serious love-hate relationship with my Kate Spade planner. I tried Google Calendar for a while, and then got annoyed with some technical glitches (plus I wanted to be super trendy and rock the vintage paper planner), so I made a decision at the beginning of the year to live and die by my Kate Spade planner. My entire life. Meetings and reminders and passwords and secret love notes and my favorite verses and basically everything that defines me. All on those pages.
A few nights ago, I was texting one of my good friends, telling her it’d been a while since we caught up over coffee. Like most would, we mutually agreed to set a date ASAP, and then started rattling off when we were both free. I whipped out my planner, proud of the color coding and organization and “slots” of free time I’d allotted myself.
“Next Tuesday, but only after 7:30. Or the following Thursday, maybe? 6:00? We could do cocktails?”
“Ah, next week is crazy for me. And can’t do the following Thursday… How about two weeks from now, Wednesday the 25th?”
“Eek, I’ve got a work event that night. Tuesday, July 1st?”
WAIT A SECOND, DID AN ENTIRE MONTH REALLY JUST PASS?
Was it really impossible for us to set a coffee date in June? Were we really that busy?
Our planners said so.
I’ve *officially* been working for a year now (and I’m still alive, hallelujah!), and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that almost every single person I’ve met is deeply obsessed with being busy. And not just normal busy… it’s like “I can’t fit you in for a coffee date for an entire month” kind of busy. And if I’m being honest, it kind of terrifies me. I’m sure it’s a New York thing… the fact that people walk around with their heads buried in their iPhones and outlook calendars. It’s almost like we all believe that in order to be important, to be successful, we have to be busy. We feel compelled to fill our calendars from the moment we wake up to the few minutes before we got to bed at night.
And it’s not just New York, I don’t think. Obviously I think everything is exaggerated in this city, but I’m sure that we’ve all got a little bit of that need and desire to be busy in us. We all want to feel wanted, desired, needed by someone at all times. And if we’re not busy, all the sudden we’re lazy. We feel guilty for having a night alone, a night off.
We ask ourselves… If I’m not busy, am I really that important? And important is everything, so I need to be important here. Only important people succeed in this city. So let me show you how important I am by pointing to my extremely full and color-coded and packed calendar. I promise it’ll impress you.
“M, how are you?? It’s been ages! This month is crazy for me. Maybe we do drinks in early July? Or August?”
“M, how’ve you been? Remember when we had margaritas two months ago? We should really do that again! I’ll re-connect with you when things slow down next month!”
“M, I feel like we’re better friends on social media than we are in real life!”
Translation: “Look, I care about you, but I really just want you to know how busy I am and how hard it is to get even just a few minutes on my calendar.”
We’ve all heard it. And most of us are culprits. But we also know that if we really want to see someone, or if something is that important, that we can always make time for it. I’ve got a deep (and kind of shocking) theory that none of us are really as busy as we let on. Yes, I’m sure there are things on our calendars and events to go to and work to do and people to meet and important assignments to finish… but at the end of the day, we’ve got to remember that you don’t get a prize for being busy. No one does. We reward hard work and success, and that’s completely different than being so busy you can’t tell left from right. Busy isn’t a synonym for successful.
I’m in need of constant reminder to slow down and breathe. I’m pretty good at taking time for myself, but even that time is usually scheduled (I’m one of those crazy people who actually puts “go to gym” on their calendar). So instead, I surround myself with reminders. People who hold me accountable and words and phrases above my bed that love me enough to tell me the harsh truth: Slow the heck down, love. You’ve done enough today. It’s time to rest now. Just, rest.
So my advice to you (and myself): Rest. And then clear your calendar one night. Real soon.
You’ll feel like a rebel. And I promise you it’ll feel oh-so-wonderful.
Like you’re taking back of piece of yourself that’s been missing a long, long time.