“Beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life”

Sharb Barren Landscape

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

Amazing to think the warning of an ancient Greek Philosopher,  born in 470BC rings so true today.

Earlier this year I contributed to a blog posting for my colleague, Linda Samuels.  The topic was what I wanted more and less of in the new year.  My response:

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m actively embracing the idea of less and am pursuing a ‘smaller’, more focused life: less stuff, simpler lifestyle, and fewer activities & commitments.  Having a less complicated lifestyle will yield more time and energy for what matters most to me these days: personal connections, healthy living, following my curiosity, learning, practicing and continuing to create a business model that most authentically represents my values and appeals to the needs of my clients.”

Most people who know me well would tell you I’ve always been an extremely busy person.  My mom would tell you I rarely sat still and my kids might say I’m in perpetual motion.  My husband teases me about being a “shark “- unable to stop swimming lest I no longer be able to breathe.  To some degree, my “busy”ness is most likely attributable to my ADHD and my tendency to say “YES!” to shiny new tasks and projects presented to me.  I know any number of my ADHD clients experience the same type of “busy”ness.

As noted by Socrates though, this “busy”ness can result in a feeling of barrenness. Barrenness like in the landscape photo above I took in central California several years ago.  Busy translates into life flying by while you barely have time to enjoy it.  Busy means shifting from one task to another so quickly you don’t even consider celebrating your completions.  Busy means juggling too many activities and commitments and maybe even experiencing physical exhaustion or stress related challenges. Busy can result in enjoying life less and experiencing barrenness.

I’ve given much thought to what less busy looks like and I have experimented a lot with slowing down this year.  My learning:  I enjoy doing less and relaxing more.  Even more than I thought I might.  The result, less stress and more time to enjoy the company of my family and friends or to just be.

Having a smaller, more focused and less busy life isn’t something that happens overnight.  Just like I tell my coaching clients, change is a process.  This change requires making many choices, but they’re choices I’m enjoying making because one by one, they add up to the change I’m seeking.  I’m no different from you.  Only I can create change in my life.  Only you can create change in yours.

I’d love to hear what you think.  What changes could you make to result in a less busy life?   What could being less busy bring more of into your life?




8 Responses to ““Beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life””

  1. Linda Samuels January 9, 2014 8:54 am #

    What is so powerful here, Andrea is the way you allowed yourself to examine the way you’ve always been…not just accept it as fact. But not only were you able to really see, but you were able to make some changes and notice how those felt. And it sounds like “less busy” felt really good. You’re on to something big here. Looking forward to seeing what happens as this new philosophy manifests itself in the months ahead.

    Thank you for sharing your “more” and “less” over on the blog. I always love hearing what you’re thinking about.

    • Andrea Sharb January 9, 2014 11:28 am #

      Thanks Linda. I appreciate participating in your posting, which resulted in me clearly articulating what had just been floating around in my head. : )

  2. Melanie Dennis January 9, 2014 4:55 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree. It is the focus of the year for me. Beginning to say where my time is spent and being more mindful of how I spend it.

    • Andrea Sharb January 9, 2014 9:07 pm #

      Love it! I’m finding it fascinating to more mindfully notice how my time is being spent. The more you pay attention, the less likely you are to spend that extra fifteen minutes on a project that does nothing to bring you life. I look forward to hearing about how your focus is going when I see you next!

  3. Ellen Delap January 9, 2014 4:58 pm #

    I love this thought. I agree that busyness can be emptiness, full only of the most superficial of connections and tasks. Thinking about what makes my life truly full is my goal too.

    • Andrea Sharb January 9, 2014 9:10 pm #

      Ellen, thank you for sharing your goal. “Truly full” has such wonderful sound and feel to it. You, Melanie and I should form a group to support each other in our efforts. 😉

  4. Debbie Bowie January 28, 2014 8:41 am #


    I’ve been looking at your blog postings to see what you write about and how you write. And, when I encountered this post I was amazed to learn that you are doing the same thing I’m committed to doing this year — slowing down, doing less to be able to live your life more in alignment with your values. It’s nice to know I’m not alone on this challenging path. Shifting gears to a slower speed is scary (because fast is familiar and kept me distracted from feelings) and unfamiliar. But, this is the year I’m going to make this change (I’ve been trying to work less and rest and play more with little success). I wish you well on this journey!

    • Andrea Sharb January 28, 2014 10:26 am #

      Hi Debbie, so glad you found something here that struck a chord with you. Thank you for your well wishes and best to you on your journey. I look forward to connecting in the future and getting an update. Best, Andrea

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