The Physics of Being Busy

Have you ever noticed how busy people seem to get more done?

I’ve heard that if you have a task that needs completing, give it to a busy person. They’ll get it done. Probably in a timely fashion too.

Maybe it has something to do with physics. People with a lot to do have a lot more energy whirling around them. They’re already moving fast. Adding something else just propels them faster. Tasks are easy because they’re used to doing them. They cook and clean simultaneously.

Now think of that person who never does anything. Their biggest contribution in life is unlocking a weapon in a video game. They sleep during the day. They have all the free time in the world to complete as many projects as they want. Yet… Would you have any confidence whatsoever that this person would be able to complete your task at all, let alone quickly?

I wouldn’t either. 

And I’ve been thinking about that fact. Does increasing how busy I am make it more likely that I will be better at getting things done? From personal experience, it does.

I often joke that I’m a lazy person, self-conscious that there’s hidden truth there. Perhaps there is, but over the last 7 years, I have been progressively increasing how much I do in life. And strangely, nowadays, I do a lot more. And it keeps growing. I even have more energy when doing things. I can squish multiple tasks together and get even more done! 

Before I started down the Krav Maga rabbit hole, I couldn’t fathom how people went to the gym every day. How did they fit it in with their lives? Doesn’t it require a lot of preparation and recovery? Don’t you have to change clothes frequently? It all seemed so overwhelming and impossible. 

Then I met people who did go to Krav every day. Some also did other things, like weightlifting, running, surfing, paddleboarding… ON THE SAME DAY! And they also had jobs, and had to do grocery shopping. This amazed me. But I already knew the truth.

They were able to get more done because they were already busy.

It wasn’t too difficult to see the lesson. I know that the more I’ve done in life, the more I’m able to do. The busier I am, the more I accomplish. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around it, but it’s true. The more you have to do, the faster you work.

Which is not to say not to have downtime. Breaks and retreats from chaos are important, necessary even to keep going on that trajectory of progress. But if you spend more time doing nothing than you do accomplishing things, it’s not downtime at all. It’s your life. And you can’t enjoy your recreation when you do nothing else. If your life is one big break, it’s not fulfilling. Taking a break after working hard is rewarding. Sleeping your life away is dismal and sad. And it slows your life to a halt while everyone else seems to be moving at warp speed.

Now you’re doing nothing and you can’t accomplish anything.

Busy, busy, busy. Go, go, go.

I want to test that theory out. I want to add more, to see if more gets done. I want to be a good artist, a good athlete, and a good businessperson. All of it. This isn’t just experimental. This is straight up practicality. If I believe that busier people get more done, I need to become a busy person. Even if I have to force it at first. It’s like training a muscle. It becomes easier as you become stronger, and then you’re able to do even more with it. 

At the end of your life, you don’t want to focus on all you didn’t do. You’ll want to focus on all you did. Which, hopefully, if you get your physics right, will be a lot. :)

Written by Shayla Maddox for Art & Musings

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About ShaylaMaddox

I paint, and travel, and absorb the universe. And then I paint about those things. My work is a blend of science, Zen style, and Sacred Geometry. I am inspired by stars, moons, sunsets, tropical beaches, humidity, coloring books, crayons, glo-worms and lite-brites, the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade, Jules Verne, The Science Channel, ancient technology and civilizations, the study of the universe, spirituality, stained glass windows, sea glass, telescopes, down-tempo music, Zen wisdom, rainbows, fireflies, water and light.

3 thoughts on “The Physics of Being Busy

  1. I don’t know…when I try and do everything I get overwhelmed and close to breaking. It’s hard to find the balance. But I don’t have any cushions, I have to do everything by myself. Maybe that’s the difference. 

  2. This is really really true. I used to wonder, am I lacking of time or am I just not putting more effort into finishing my projects earlier cuz when it comes near to the due date, I’m able to complete it in a day or two. I’ll keep this in mind. Thank you!

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