Speak Out: Are Columbians Too Busy?

Does being one of the richest communities in the United States make Columbians over-scheduled?

Howard County is one of the in the country. It's also (and .) But do we pay the price for these accolades by being excessively busy?

A recent New York Times editorial titled the "Busy Trap" discussed the American phenomenon of busyness.

It's almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they've taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they've 'encouraged' their kids to participate in. They're busy because their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Local blogger Sarah Husain of Sarah Says, used the editorial in a recent post to discuss her own busyness.

I am totally in the busy trap.  It's not even that I jam my days full of endless activities and busyness.  I secretly think (though since this is a blog, it's not a secret anymore) that my threshold for being tired and busy is just way lower than most other folks.  I need eight hours of sleep, so if I'm up at 6 am, my head better be on that pillow by 10 pm.  So when I complain about being busy, it's not that I'm competitive about it ("I'm way busier than most folks"), it's that I've hit my threshold of busyness.

Tim Kreider, the writer of the New York Times editorial later talks about how ideleness may in fact be a virtue.

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

So as Columbia and Howard County continue to prosper, the question is, are we stuck in the "Busy Trap?" Tell us in comments.

Lisa Rossi July 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I am trying REALLY hard not to get sucked into the busy trap, but the Fourth of July was a fail for me in that regard. I dragged my family to a parade, the pool, Wegmans and fireworks. We were exhausted by the end of the day! A lot of fun, but I should have chosen just one or two things, not, like, 20!
Peter Monaghan July 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM
As parents we allow ourselves to get consumed in our children's lives. That contributes to our "busyness". As a parent I relish the few moments in the day I have for myself to relax and do something for myself.
Andrew Metcalf July 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM
As editor of the Columbia Patch, I'm constantly busy myself. I'm on the phone, responding to emails, sending out tweets, responding to tweets, posting stories on Facebook, talking with community members, interviewing sources, going to meetings... I find it hard to believe I have time to sit down and write. (Also, H/T to Sarah for the idea for this post)
Ann Delacy July 20, 2012 at 08:29 PM
As a retiree, I'm as busy as before retirement. The only difference is that I get to chose what makes me busy!
MG42 July 20, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Says a lot about the school system and teachers' union.


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