Times of Oman
Oman family: Have we become a generation of adrenaline junkies?
April 26, 2017 | 7:34 PM
by Farzeen Ashik
Prioritise your tasks at the beginning of the day.
 
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Do we crave the constant rush we get when we are juggling so many things that just not crashing is a miracle? Do we bite off more than we can chew most of the time just to keep those around us in awe? If you are nodding as you read along don’t worry, you have company. The pace of life today is quite frenetic, though being in Oman we are a tad more laid back than the rest of the world, but we have our crazy days too. But the question then becomes, is it really necessary? Do you have to text one friend while having coffee with another? Do you have to bring work home? Isn’t it unfair that you are reading an e-mail while your child is trying to talk to you? Does having a 5-minute lunch at your crammed desk mean you’ve become a high performer?

Having a jam-packed schedule doesn’t mean you’ve made it in the world and that you are the epitome of success. It could also mean that you are just a workaholic or someone who simply isn’t smart enough to prioritise and manage his time. In the words of the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegard, ‘Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work... What, I wonder, do these busy folks get done?’ According to him busyness is a means of distracting oneself from truly important questions, such as who you are and what life is for. Busy people “fill up their time, always find things to do,” but they have no principle guiding their life. “Everything is important but nothing is important,” he adds. So let’s take a moment away from Netflix, Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp and just quietly look at out lives and strategise.

Be physically and mentally present

Sounds easy enough, right? But sadly most of the time it doesn’t happen. When you are too busy it’s impossible to stay focused on what’s happening right in front of you. Your kids could be tearing themselves to pieces but you have your nose stuck in your laptop and you have tuned out their screams. Not a pretty picture there. Philosophers such as Josef Pieper and Mark Tietjen have argued that Kierkegaard saw busyness as a form of sloth — at the other extreme to laziness, but a vice just the same.

Prioritise

We live in a world that bombards us with all kinds of stimuli. Our senses have to work over time to just find the important ones and help us respond to it. Prioritise your tasks at the beginning of the day. You want to be Superman but hey, be realistic. Don’t try to do too many things at one time. Single-tasking is the order of the day.

Don’t confuse motion for progress

It’s easy to think that we are doing something really valuable with our lives when we find our planners full. But if we sit down and look deep we may find that we have filled up our days with meaningless things that won’t matter a decade from now. Think about what really makes you happy and make sure to invest time in that. Don’t confuse the grind for success. Avoiding busyness, especially in a time and society that seems to expect it, is not easy. But Karl Aho, who recently presented a PhD dissertation on Kierkegaard’s notion of time at Baylor University, argues that it’s a worthwhile goal—and that, by refusing to address the important questions, and instead living a “double minded” and busy life, one can become afraid to commit to a single person and cause, and so can lead to missing out on one’s calling or marriage.

Consistency goes for a toss

When you are too busy you tend to cut corners unknowingly. In your hurry to get things done and tick off all the items in your to-do list quality may often take the backseat. The result is that your work product or even those cupcakes you used to bake at home don’t really have the jazz they used to before. So make sure your plate isn’t too full.

Health is wealth

All too often our health suffers when we are constantly busy. The mental and physical stress when we are trying to achieve too much can often have serious, far-reaching consequences. You forget to take care of yourself and those precious to you too.

Emotionally depleted

Do you find yourself working 10-12 hour days with absolutely no energy once you are back home? Or worse you are so emotionally exhausted that you find yourself blanking out and being indifferent to family and friends. Take a moment and reorient yourself. Who are you doing all this for? What are you doing? And why? Tune out and just answer these questions instead of checking your messages like a maniac.

Don’t forget to dream

We end up being so busy running the rat race that we forget why we are in it in the first place. What were our dreams when we were younger? What did we want to be or do? Are we still on that track or have we forgotten to dream? You are not simply a worker or a wife or a parent, you are person in his/her own right. You have dreams, passions and ideas; don’t let busyness take the happiness out of your life.

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