Busy bees

I got this by email, and it was the trigger for this new post. I had to put down my thoughts on this subject, which have been festering in my mind for quite a while now, before they burst like balloons into nothingness.

It all started with the concept of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking, to me, is overrated, simply because I am a hopeless multi-tasker. I do things serially. I can concentrate on only one thing at a time. I do fine because I get the jobs ticked off the to-do list at the end of the day. I have seen people multi-tasking, flying, or should I say, flitting from task to task with the capriciousness of a drunk butterfly, and finally getting nothing done. I have also seen people who are supremely efficient and who can definitely multi-task with elan. But these have been very few and far between. I guess like other things, this is also a talent. Maybe you can also learn this, but I feel it’s like taking singing lessons. A person could probably be taught to sing passably and hold a tune, but only a person with real talent can sing beautifully. So my take on multi-tasking is that you ought to know how much you can handle, and pace yourself accordingly.

Which brings me to the other myth about how women are great at multi-tasking. I call it a myth because I myself am an exception. The debate is often in the context of being superwoman, juggling house and work, and trying to balance the two. Recent debates that have hovered around my rim of consciousness include how women can’t have it all, or why women, in fact, can have it all. I can’t understand this debate completely, because my question is more fundamental, and not limited by gender: Why do you want to have it all — at the same time? It’s like trying to stuff a three-course meal down your throat: take a sip of that appetizer, take a bite of the main course, scoop a spoonful of that dessert. You’re definitely not going to feel very good or satisfied, even though you might have polished off everything within the given time!

I understand that I could be accused of coming from a position of privilege: after all, I work from home, so I don’t really have to juggle as much as other folks, I don’t have financial problems, I don’t have personal issues… All true. However, I do feel that I’ve managed to arrange my life to be more peaceful simply by wanting less. This does not mean I didn’t/don’t have ambitions or dreams — in fact, I’ve managed to do most of what I wanted to do with my life so far.

And that brings me to the work-life balance. Do we really need to drive ourselves insane at work? I mean, why do we need to work longer hours, work weekends, work around the clock? As it is, we produce far more than we consume (at least to the eye, I don’t have stats to back up this statement), and we waste so much. If we scale back the levels of production, would we be seriously hurt? I doubt it. If we consumed less as a whole, then we wouldn’t have to produce so much, and of course we wouldn’t have to work so relentlessly. This would tilt the scales in favour of more life and less work, and wouldn’t that be a welcome change? I know, I know, this is a pretty simplistic argument πŸ™‚ I guess this is why people urge you to follow your passion and make your career about something you love, because then you don’t really have to strike a work-life balance — it is already balanced, and completely in your favour.

So, with these kind of thoughts brewing in my head, it was in an entirely receptive frame of mind that I read the article and nodded in agreement.

I know each person is different, with different needs and circumstances, ambitions and appetities.

But I also know that “Less is more” works very well for me.

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6 thoughts on “Busy bees

  1. Ano, fab post – my thoughts exactly. I think a post is festering in my mind too about this.

    “I do feel that I’ve managed to arrange my life to be more peaceful simply by wanting less.” – such a simple truth, so beautifully put. I now realize I have done this too, unconsciously.

    But what will those people do who absolutely love their chosen profession – love the work they do, thrive in it – and the only way they can get anything done, or better themselves, is by giving it lots of time and effort? So much that they don’t have time for a family, or for travelling (as opposed to a vacation) or for a hobby or anything else they feel the need for? Of course, this question is for any gender.

    • Thanks Shruthi.

      I think the answer to your question lies in the question itself. If you do love the work you do so much, then it makes sense to do it for most of the time, and everything else naturally takes a much smaller piece of the pie.

      What I suspect you are alluding to is the conflicts that come along, say, when there are expectations from a family. (I am not considering the other reasons you mention because they are more to do with self and can be controlled, more or less; where there’s a will, there’s a way, innit? :D). In that case, yes, I do agree it becomes difficult, but imho, the solution is again in wanting less — such as wanting less approval/appreciation from family members.

      It seems to me that the key is recognizing clearly that your pie is finite, identifying what your priorities are, and apportioning your pie appropriately.

      Don’t know if I’m making sense here. πŸ™‚

      There’s so much more to talk about on this — let’s continue over a cup of tea instead! πŸ˜€

  2. Old post but i read it now. Was looking up abt ur existence n realized u have but i had not on virtual world atleast
    I keep thinking of this ‘wanting more’ requirement more so ‘coz of struggle i see at workplace n also that now i realize the energy love n patience required by wife to look after our kid.in a way i am more than happy when she says she never wants to work.

    All said n said done,am not sure what shud the boundary be

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