Can We Please Stop Pretending to be Busy All the Time?

There is a crisis affecting our generation, and it is has to stop. No, it’s not the property market or the fact we spend all our money on avocados and Meal Deals, though I do wish I could solve the former by foregoing the latter. We have become obsessed with being busy. We moan about it, brag about it, feel guilty when we aren’t it and seem to generally feel the need to live our lives at a million miles an hour, fuelled by a Starbucks Venti Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk Latte and a to-do list so long that it rivals the Great Wall.

We’re all guilty of it; I love to have a little rant in a Monday morning Instagram caption about the fifty five different things vying for my time that day. I am constantly writing list after list and whilst it’s true – I am busy – usually I’m expecting myself to achieve things that the Duracell bunny on crack would struggle with. The result? I finish the day feeling a bit deflated with a sense of impending doom about tomorrow’s list and a Google search history that includes ‘Dumbledore time turner’. Meanwhile, everyone else is conned in to believing I’m an ultra-productive Super Woman.

We put so much pressure on ourselves, and through the power of social media onto others, to feel as though we must be busy all the time. If we’re not doing something productive, worthwhile, instagrammable, was there any point in even getting out of bed today? The consequence is that we are unable to enjoy real down time because we spend it feeling a bit guilty about the unanswered emails and that stain on the carpet that should’ve been washed out a week ago. We start comparing ourselves to so-and-so who “Absolutely killed it today!!! 💪🏼🙌🏼😏” and the vicious cycle continues.

The reality is that it is impossible to be busy all the time, and beyond that it is seriously unhealthy. I try and be as open and honest as I can be and yes, some days when I intended to do sixty five million things I actually ate too much pasta for lunch and then had an unintentional two hour nap. Quite frankly, that sounds like a dreamy afternoon to me but it’s no good if it’s spent feeling bad about all the things I didn’t do. Personally, whilst I do genuinely enjoy being busy, I get overwhelmed when life is tugging me in every direction imaginable and I become almost paralysed by my own unattainable standards and to do list. As a result I end up doing sweet FA and then beating myself up about it.

I’m not suggesting we should all just bin off our jobs, stop doing the laundry and spend our days Netflix binging, but sometimes we DO need days like that. We need to stop bullying ourselves into saying yes to things we don’t want to do, stop pressuring ourselves into jamming more than is really possible into our schedules and take some time to chill the fuck out. Actual quality time spent doing absolutely bugger all, totally guilt free, is so important for our future productivity, energy and emotional well being.

Having struggled with my mental health, I’ve had days where if I’ve managed to stand up and make it as far as the shower I’ve climbed a mountain. It taught me to appreciate small achievements and schedule in proper time off to myself, whether that’s to watch Gilmore Girls, turn into a prune in the bath or go to bed at 8pm (bliss). Yet somehow I struggle to transfer that sense of self-care into my working life when it comes to planning my schedule, self-setting deadlines and juggling my work load. Yes, I am busy. I know you are too, but I also know I’d be a damn sight more productive if I took the time to breath, to assess what’s reasonable in the space of fourteen hours (this gal needs ten hours sleep) and to be kinder to myself in the process.


  1. December 11, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    This is such a good point well made. We all have lots of things to juggle but slowing down and prioritising what is important can definitely make us more effective and happier 💕

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:24 pm

      Thanks Emily! Prioritising is so important, as is pressing the pause button!

  2. December 11, 2017 / 6:00 pm

    I love, love, love this post. I am busy all the time and I definitely feel a pressure. Thank you for getting it out there

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:23 pm

      Thank you Torri. Exactly! There’s nothing wrong with being busy buts it’s impossible 24/7 – we need to switch off.

  3. December 11, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    I’m all about the 10 hour sleep 🙌🏼🙌🏼

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:23 pm

      I’m a zombie without it!

      • Beth Sandland
        December 12, 2017 / 5:38 pm


  4. December 11, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    We’d all have a lot more time to do our to-do lists if we stopped posting about being busy. Haha. But then again in this social media world you have to sell yourself in order to create new opportunities to earn money! But yes moaning about it isn’t the one xx

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:23 pm

      Absolutely! True but I don’t think telling everyone how busy you are is really in any way enticing of opportunities. Being fulfilled is great, but being stressed isn’t and neither is poor time management, and I can definitely play victim to both sometimes! Xx

  5. December 11, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Yes yes yes! This is a fantastic post. So relatable, was literally having a conversation with my Mum about how bizarre it is for people to say how busy they are and make it into a contest. Let’s actually talk instead! Xx

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Exactly! It’s like we’re all desperate to be seen as invincible, but who really wants to be busy 24/7? I know I personally NEED the time off and it’s more than okay to do absolutely nothing sometimes and feel good about it too! Xx

  6. December 11, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    I could not agree more. I spend almost every day feeling guilty about not “smashing it” that day, because I never feel like I did. I could tick my to do-list off by lunchtime and do an extra 37 bits, work until 10pm, eat healthily and go to the gym every damn day – and I still would compare myself to all those claiming to “slaaaaay” on social media. I think it all depends on where we set our aims and goals, too – some people might want to only get five things done in a day, get those done and shout about it on Twitter, which is absolutely fine and up to them, but we do need to realise that we can’t see behind the account in most cases, so there’s no good in comparing ourselves to anyone online x

    • Beth Sandland
      December 12, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Absolutely! I think this goes for just about everything; we never truly know what’s going on in the background and I’ve written a lot about how social media tends to be a highlights reel. I know I need to be much better at setting myself REALISTIC targets and then being proud of myself when I achieve them, rather than wishing I’d done more xx

  7. December 12, 2017 / 7:03 am

    I’ve never really considered this before but I realise now just how harmful it can be for us. It’s so true though that seeing others be productive makes me feel guilty when I’m having a lazy day though that is not how it should be!

    • Beth Sandland
      December 12, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      You are more than entitled to have a lazy day, in fact I whole heartedly encourage it! We all need days off xx

  8. December 12, 2017 / 8:24 am

    This is so so true! My mum always tells me im always pulling myself in every direction, but you really do need time for yourself! I really love your writing and i really enjoy reading your posts! Xxx

    • Beth Sandland
      December 12, 2017 / 5:39 pm

      Thank you Sophie! Your mama sounds like a wise woman. We can’t pour from an empty glass xx

  9. December 13, 2017 / 8:57 am

    You just keep on getting better and better 😍 I love this post so much!! I do know people who are completely chilled and fine to relax as soon as they get home, but I am definitely the complete opposite and even after a full day at work I have to achieve something at home, and jam my weekends packed full! Don’t know why I feel this way, but you’re definitely right that it’s unhealthy to not just be able to wind down and relax. Couldn’t have written this better myself ❤️

  10. December 13, 2017 / 10:03 am

    Honestly this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while. I couldn’t agree more that there is a certain glorification these days around being busy, and in reality it’s so damaging to our mental healths! And I am so guilty of feeding into it, I think we all are to an extent!

    Shauna |

  11. December 13, 2017 / 10:12 am

    I have often said that it’s ok to just lounge on the sofa and watch tv for a half hour because it’s really the only half hour of disconnected downtime I get on most days. This mad rush we all have to multitask and fill our days super achieving does take a toll.

  12. December 13, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    You’re absolutely right! I definitely feel so guilty if I haven’t finished my to-do list or if I go on Instagram and other people ‘seem’ to get loads more done to progress in life and the only time I left the house was to do the food shop. You’re so right that society today promotes so much business that there really aren’t enough hours in the day and that even if we do get everything done – there’s always more that we feel guilty about not doing even when we should be allowed time to ourselves!

    Self-care is the most important thing and you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post!

    Daughter of An Air Hostess // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

  13. December 13, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Couldn’t have put it better myself! We need to stop glorifying being busy and just accept being not busy

    Ellie xx

  14. Becca Jordan
    December 13, 2017 / 11:28 pm

    I really needed to read this, particularly today, thank you. I need to learn and believe that taking a day off is not stopping me from getting towards my dreams, it’s giving me a realistic chance of actually getting there. BX

  15. December 14, 2017 / 1:16 am

    Beth! This post is so great and beyond relevant to me right now, considering I ate way too much gnocchi yesterday afternoon and then snoozed for four hours which resulted in my staying up until 2am to finish a blog post. Sometimes the amount of ‘busyness’ I put on myself is counterproductive and my anxiety and stress levels force me to become a hermit with a helluva migraine, and then I just stress out more. Let’s stop glorifying busy!

    Sharni xo

  16. December 14, 2017 / 1:35 am

    This is such a great post. I stumbled on your blog and Instagram after Lydia Millen mentioned you in her IG stories and I’m glad she did. I’m just barely a “millennial” depending on what definition/date range you look at lol, but I relate to this issue/obsession of being busy. I’m in a PhD program and it’s like a badge of honor to be the “busiest” and everyone loves to talk about how buried under the weight of their work they are. I’m at the point where, yeah, I’m busy, but let me brag about the day I blew off work for the sake of my sanity and spent the afternoon napping and reading a novel just for fun. Looking forward to more of your posts. 🙂


  17. December 14, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    I needed this post! I beat myself up all the time about not completing my to-do list for the week on Monday morning, and I think it’s so important to get this message out! XX

  18. December 14, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    Yesss to all of this, Beth!!! SO many people don’t understand that self-care is so important to be able to CONTINUE to have the energy we need to do what we love. Fantastic article! x

    She Sweats Diamonds

  19. Holly
    December 14, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    Love love love this post. I used to struggle with being so busy all of the time and absolutely loved feeling like I was “accomplishing things” however since I’ve moved cities a year and a half ago where I know it less and can’t be as busy either because of lack of money or lack of out-goingness, I struggle with the fact that I’m not “busy” and “achieving” which is something that I think comes from going to school where your constantly working towards graduating. Now what am I working towards?

    Just some thoughts! Love the post xx

  20. December 17, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    I completely agree we are all feeling like we need to keep busy all the time but that is so unhealthy, in fact we need to learn to be able to take time for ourselves and to just relax and learn not feel guilty for it, you do such a good job though lovely, try not to beat yourself up all the time xx

  21. Maleny
    December 18, 2017 / 4:14 am

    It’s as if I had written out some of these sentences myself. Very relatable. I say we get together for a wine movie night. Status: Busy relaxing

  22. Gaby
    December 21, 2017 / 6:28 pm

    Hi Beth, I really enjoy your writing, I like the flow of your style. You make a lot of sense and your post helped me to put things in perspective. Thank you

  23. December 23, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    I absolutely love this post, Beth. I often feel guilty for not being productive 100% of the time but I shouldn’t! We all need a break sometimes. It’s impossible to be busy constantly without burning yourself out.

    Lauren //

  24. December 30, 2017 / 7:01 pm

    As a college student, I understand what you mean. If you’re not collapsing over your google calendar that’s filled to the brim with internships, classes, jobs, and extracurriculars, then you’re doing it wrong. It’s almost mandatory to start a conversation with at least 5 minutes of whining about our ridiculous schedule’s (which in reality like you said is a hidden form of bragging). I have yet to find a student that doesn’t have the need to do “more”. A quote I really like that battles this harmful ideology that we need to work ourselves to the ground is one by Henry David Thoreau: “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”. Quality vs. quantity. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean anything. Don’t accept something just to be able to add it to your calendar.

  25. January 9, 2018 / 8:50 pm

    Great post! You make some excellent points- there’s so much pressure nowadays to always be on the run, and we take pride in being busy. There’s nothing wrong with a Friends marathon in your sweats every now and then! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I’m going to bookmark this page and look back on it when I’m feeling down! xo

  26. January 12, 2018 / 8:02 am

    This Christmas me, my husband and 2 kids cut off from the world for a week. It was so good to take some quiet quality time together. Nearly everyone I have spoken to has said how jealous they are and how their Christmas period was spent either travelling between various family members, or hosting family and friends. We obviously like to do that but this year we really needed the time to refresh, so we made sure we did it. I know it’s easier said than done sometimes, but it was worth it.

  27. January 14, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    Great pints here. *Hands up* because I find myself quilt for all of this. I have realized that I prefer say I’m busy doing this or doing that so I can not attend to other important things.

  28. January 15, 2018 / 11:32 pm

    Omg this! I needed to hear this post today because this is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately too.
    I definitely feel the pressure from social media of whether I’m doing enough or being ‘the best I can be’ and all that jazz, I just keep thinking come on guys, it’s January, I’m tired from all the festivities of December. I cba with all this super boost of motivation right now. Keeps making me feel bad! haha


  29. January 25, 2018 / 11:42 pm

    Oh what an amazing post, I completely agree with you! Sometimes I feel guilty just spending a day chilling at home because I don’t have anything to do. Is it crazy? ahah Being busy shouldn’t be our goal.


  30. Piryanka
    March 17, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    I suspected this too of other people mostly. I use it myself sometimes as an excuse for things – why I can’t make it to our hanging out session, I want you to know I’m busy or something equally poor of a reason. I’m not better but some times I question the people who do use it are they really taking full advanatage of their time? They’re working 14 hours a day but are they really working the full 14 hours? Or are they just messing around almost half of that? Are they really being productive? Or is it just a “omg I’ve been super busy”? Could the work they say they do for the 14 hours be done more efficiently in less time? Should I be working 14 hours? Should I be killing myself? But the thing is no I can’t kill myself working like that for the simple reason of I get tired.

    I don’t know using the “I’ve been busy” just gives off the impression of I’m doing so many important things in my life and I want you to know it. All because the complexity of my situation can be simplified into the one word busy. But maybe more importantly and the take home would be it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough things in my life and my life in comparison to the busy busy busy types is drab.

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