There’s a secret pandemic infecting creatives across the globe...and it’s not Covid-19. You’ve probably experienced its debilitating symptoms for years, only to blame them on too much caffeine, or too little caffeine. This diabolic disease is called The Busy. It’s a mental epidemic that first swept the U.S. in the early 2000’s. Up until then, humanity’s evolution was fairly steady through the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and then the Iron Age. Basically, we invented bigger and sharper stuff to maim ourselves with, and also sliced bread, so that’s cool.
As we developed ever increasingly effective methods of thriving, our hunger for more grew until…The Smartphone Age, where people now had devices that enabled them to work anywhere and anytime they wanted. Workaholism became a badge of honor, instead of a trope for every distracted dad in movies and TV.
Suddenly, everyone I knew was so BUSY. Whenever I asked a friend how she was doing, she always said “Oh I’m so busy. You just can’t imagine all the crap I’m busy doing.” And then she would tick off all the things she had to do that day, which sounded like the NASA Pre-Launch Checklist. She was picking up, dropping off, buying, baking, washing, researching, selling, presenting, designing, and volunteering her day away. It was daunting for me because I hate being busy. It’s not that I’m lazy, but I like to experience what I’m doing. If I have to go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, I make an event out of it. I pack a snack and wear comfortable undies. I snag my notebook and trusty EnerGel pen, because I’m a writer going into one of the greatest mosh pits humanity has ever created. You can witness every emotion in like, an hour. The giddy success of nailing your driving exam. The red-hot rage of playing “Nope. Not this line either!” And the soul-shattering sadness of yet another “woman who just woke from a 12-year coma” license photo. The idea that I would waste my time there dead-scrolling on my phone is sacrilegious.
But The Busy continues to evolve us. Babies are now born with their own brand and parental social media team. Twelve year olds can make six-figures as lifestyle influencers. Think about that...when was the last time you looked at a tween in Target and thought “I wish I had her denim jacket, and laissez-faire attitude.” Sure you scoff now, but if you saw that kid’s Insta? You’d be mimicking their trout-pout pics and mixing Mountain Dew into your rosé.
My own writing went through a dark time where all the exec feedback praised my skills, but they passed on the scripts because they didn’t feel original. Of course they weren’t original. How could they be when I was developing all my ideas while scrolling social media and falling back on established story outlines to create my material. Not only did I lose my industry readers, I lost my confidence, and my clarity on why the hell I spent weeks drooling into my keyboard in the first place. What do I want to say about the world? Why does it matter so much to me? To get those answers, I had to cure my Busy. I now leave notifications muted. I often go out and...this next part is not for those with a heart condition or gag reflex...I leave my tech at home. I know, terrifying. What if a scammer is trying to reach me? What if a dress I once liked back in ‘08 is now on closeout sale?
So did it work? Well, The Busy is incurable BUT it can be controlled. And it’s so worth it, you guys. We’ve written and pitched two new features that brought us our highest number of read requests, and a major network has asked us to pitch even more. Maybe our recent success is due to our new POV, or maybe it was the caffeine all along. I think what matters is that we stop to reevaluate what and how we are reaching our goals. Then, we adjust. And it works!
Are you having trouble with The Busy? Or have you developed cool ways of dealing with it? Reach out and let us know on Twitter: @kellyanelons and @megtheeanelons. Or Insta: @kellyanelons and @megananelons.