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Look Beyond Busy-Shaming

 By Emily Crookston

The end of the year is the perfect time to Look Beyond. As our work lives start to slow down and our personal lives begin to ramp up, we naturally begin projecting all of our hopes and dreams into the year ahead. But it’s never a good idea to look beyond, without first looking back. It’s so crucial to take time out to reflect.

So, I’m taking a moment to reflect (in front of all my closest friends in Internet-land, of course).

In the past, a chaotic week like this would have left me feeling drained, overly anxious, and feverishly reading articles about the possibility of time travel being invented in my lifetime late at night, while desperately trying to escape the clutches of insomnia (so many low-ranking feelings).

But despite being busy and missing some opportunities to channel my inspiration into creative outlets, I don’t feel frustrated or stifled. I feel free and calm and present.

I’ve been reflecting on this change in myself and wondering what it means for me moving forward and what I might have to share with you. Because don’t we all want to know the secret to feeling more free and calm and present?

Psst, my secret is…I feel free and calm and present.

That’s it. That’s my secret.


I know you’re thinking there must be more to it because I’ve been thinking there must be more to it and we’re all taught there is more to it. We’re all taught to believe if we just make it over the next hurtle or beyond the next obstacle, then we’ll feel satisfied and we’ll finally have arrived wherever it is we’re supposed to have been going for so long. But somehow we never quite make it. The goal posts keep moving.

What if, instead, we all just decided to be where we are right now?

It’s better.

I swear.

And…you know it’s better.

So why is it so hard to DO it?

Answer: We have been assimilated into a culture of busy-shaming.

I’ve been feeling this for a while and now it seems science has gotten around to backing up that feeling. A study conducted by researchers from Columbia University, Georgetown University, and Harvard University concluded that a busy and overworked lifestyles has become an aspirational status symbol for Americans. The perception is that a busy person possesses desired characteristics (e.g., competence and ambition) and is in high demand in the job market.

The moral of the story? If you want to be in with the cool kids, make sure you make a show of being busy (and put away that resting bitch face, while you’re at it)!

So much ink has been spilled over the “Trap of Busyness.” It seems that everyone has something to say about what busyness really means, how to avoid falling into the non-productive type of busyness, or how to get beyond the fog of busyness.

But here’s the thing: we’re chided for filling our lives with tedious, superficial, boring tasks that make us unhappy. At the same time, we are bombarded by pressure to be more productive, more efficient, and to do more with less. Feeling busy seems like a perfectly rational response to such pressure.

And the last time I checked, shaming people into changing never actually succeeds as a motivational tactic. And believing that it might is a definite sign of one’s privilege and mean girl (or guy) status.

Consider this post a public service announcement: I refuse to participate in this busy-shaming culture. I believe feeling busy is a choice because I have chosen feeling busy over feeling free before and I have used being busy as an excuse to avoid doing things I was afraid to do before. And I know (and in my finest hours, I even manage to remember) if you want to stop feeling busy, you need to stop being busy.

To make this change, you don’t need me to bully you into believing that feeling busy is a low-ranking feeling. You already know. You don’t need me to bully you into believing that being free and calm and present is better. You already know.

When I think about what it means to Look Beyond, I think about what it means to say STOP. What it means to change our perception of ourselves and our lives and our businesses. What it means to find new ways to solve problems we didn’t even know we had.

Limited thinking stops us both from honestly looking back and boldly looking beyond. So here’s to more unlimited thinking in 2018. Will you join me in feeling more free and calm and present?


Emily Crookston

Emily Crookston is the owner of the Pocket PhD. She is a content marketer, ghostwriter, former professor, and pocket resource for your business. When she’s not writing intensely, she’s most likely practicing yoga intensely. She lives for coffee shops that play great music to write to and desserts topped with *real* whipped cream.


Website: https://www.thepocketphd.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thepocketphd/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-crookston-b94956b1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EMCrookston