“Sorry for the delay in replying – work has been so busy!” I
type, sitting cross-legged in a pair of pyjama bottoms, trying to make
the most of a cup of tea I’ve let go cold (again) and thinking about how
I can make a healthy snack out of cheese. The truth is, my day hasn’t
been that busy. I woke up, made a cuppa, cleaned the house a bit, moved
downstairs and started tackling my emails. And by tackling, I mean
replying to those that seem most interesting and flagging the others
which I will “definitely do later”.
“Busy”, in this sense, has come to mean a series of different things. It can mean
“sorry for the delay in replying – I just didn’t want to”, “sorry for
the delay in replying – I forgot about this email because I receive 1000
others like it” or “sorry for the delay in replying – I tried having a normal life for once and didn’t live in my inbox over the weekend”, to name a few. That sentence basically just means “I’m acknowledging that I didn’t reply in a timely manner and I will extend a sentence of social expectation to honour this”.
And we also like people to know that we’re in demand, right? “Apologies for not coming back to you sooner – I don’t really have an excuse other than I had a raging hangover”
doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as being swamped by those who
want your attention. We think that by promoting the fact that we’re
snowed up with comms, other people will naturally want a slice of the
pie. In all honesty, who hasn’t name-dropped a huge brand that they’ve
worked with when trying to bag a new campaign? Or sat in a meeting with a
prospective new client and listed off some of the big player titles in
the hopes of winning more business?
It’s all a part of the “more more more” culture that we live in. We
glorify busy. We glorify stress. The more there is, the more successful
we must be. If we’re rushed off our feet with barely any time to breath,
that must mean work is going well, right? We push this as far as we can
– it doesn’t matter if we’re actually busy or not, we have to look like
it, we have to live like it, we have to slump down in bed at the end of
the day with a deep sigh or we feel like the day has been wasted.
why when we post a shameless Instagram coffee shot, the caption, more
often than not, will somehow relate to work. Whether it’s “office for the day – time to get shit done!” or “finally taking a break from work – trying to take some time for myself”,
our fingers are itching to let everyone know how well we’re doing. It’s
passive self-indulgence in all of its glory – and it’s a passive
self-indulgence that is probably followed by us mindlessly scrolling
through Instagram anyway, rather than being a “boss bitch”.
not to say that we aren’t actually ever hard at work. But if we are,
best believe that we’ll find a five minute window to upload an Insta
story or tweet informing everybody of how swamped we are and why, as a
result, we’ll be taking a short social media hiatus for the next two
days (also known as a weekend, but something we must let people know we
Shop the post:
FYI, I am the worst at this. I’ll put an out of office
email on for when I’m on holiday, but I’ll still reply to every single
email just to show how pro-active and ~ bizness ~ I am. I’ll upload a
mopey face Snapchat when I’m tired, a long, drawn-out caption when I’ve
been doing admin all day and a smug, filtered flat lay when I’m “finally done for the day! Phew, it’s been a tiring one!”.
I can write about this now and recognise that it’s all part of this
weird, social media vacuum that we’re in where social rules and
expectations are all a little skewed, an observation that goes
hand-in-hand with the fact that I will absolutely keep doing all of the
And the truth is, when it comes down to “busy”,
we can all be successful and in-demand and have spare time to not run
ourselves ragged. It’s about time management and being selective.
Obviously this is subjective – if you’re a nurse and you’re trying to
maintain a life at the same time as raising two kids and a three-legged
dog, then yes, undoubtedly you are busy as fuck. But often, those in the
online community – including me – busy ourselves simply for the sake of
The ultra-busy, slightly frazzled but
appealing stress that is propagated online is a masochism. It’s
self-inflicted to some degree – we want to look like we’re working
ourselves into the ground so everybody knows how good at our jobs we
are. The issue with this is that it’s often falsified – plumped out,
spruced up and blow dried for effect.
We busy ourselves
out worrying about how busy we are or aren’t, and then take a
well-earned 15 minute break to let everybody know how being so busy has
exhausted us. Glorifying stress and “busy” encourages self-comparison (“why aren’t I getting that much work?!”),
which in turn results in said person busying themselves to try and
replicate this appearance and et voila – a butterfly effect.
reality, there will always be one more thing to do and that diary clash
and an inbox that refills without warning, but that’s normal life. We
aren’t special in that sense. And actually, glorifying stress and being
frazzled to breaking point is unhealthy, and it’s irresponsible to
perpetuate the ‘busy’ myth rather than talking about good time
management, prioritising and days where you do fuck all because
sometimes you’re just lazy.
So here we go. Today, I
went to work, came home, pulled up this blog post which I wrote last
week, tidied it up, and added it alongside some photos that I took in
early March and forgot about. Now, I’m going to watch the rest of
Pirates of the Caribbean, neglect my emails, not bother with the washing
up and go straight to sleep. No ragrets.