The Joy and Horror of Being Really Really Busy
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey W..

The Joy and Horror of Being Really Really Busy

Written by Emilie

Topics: Productivity

Being busy is not a novel concept for most multipotentialites. I often have to say no to projects, or make plans to hang out with someone weeks out. Sometimes I take 10+ days to email people back (but I always respond).

Busyness is just part of the game, and usually my productivity strategies help me manage it pretty effectively. But with our recent growth here on Puttylike, events like WDS, polishing up my book to pitch to literary agents, launching the PuttyRetreat, and volunteering at Rock and Roll Camp for Girls (which I’m LOVING), I’ve been working harder than ever and simultaneously feeling more behind than ever. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

I’m sure you can relate. We all go through periods of time where we feel like we have no choice but to let small things slide in order to focus on the bigger things.

Sometimes we have trouble recognizing which of our things are small and which are big. We worry about disappointing people — our community, our team at work, our friends. When the opportunity to take a night off presents itself, we feel guilty and consider spending that time responding to emails.

It’s hard, being so busy. But it’s great, too.

I don’t recommend being this busy all the time. But occasionally there will be a stretch of a few weeks, where you just need to go for it. Where you need to risk letting things slide and letting people be a little disappointed in you so you can take care of new and meaningful projects.

Eat well, sleep as much as you can, and don’t let your worries distract you from this important time.

Your Turn

Have you gone through periods of intense busyness, that were also very inspiring? What strategies did you use to manage your relationships and stay afloat?

em_bioEmilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.


  1. Johoanna says:

    I’ve been really busy this week finishing paintings, rebranding and relaunching my Etsy shop. I also have a list of ideas I’d like to investigate further. But no, now’s not the time. I’m too busy. I have a few unfinished paintings to finish ready for listing on Etsy. I have a blog to write articles for, and I’m writing my business plan at the moment as well.

    My biggest management strategy is meditation and yoga. I meditate in the morning and I do yoga when I’m finished my working day. Meditation helps me to keep a clear head and to prioritise what I need to work on. Yoga helps me to destress at the end of the day and stretch it all out.

    • Emilie says:

      Meditation and yoga are fantastic suggestions. I used to meditate every morning, and I should get back into it, even if only for a few minutes. Thanks Johoanna! Have fun with your Etsy shop & business plan!

  2. Gladys says:

    I believe one’s busyness is caused by adding to daily tasks one or more of the following factors: lack of plans, inability to say no, and challenging oneself to get better.

    We already have existing daily tasks that vary in number so lack of plan which ones to do first will surely consume your time and energy to do them all. It is best to have a to-do list and arrange all your tasks to accomplish them effectively and efficiently.

    While inability to say no may be due to being a “yes man” or the person who’s asking you is really childish or there are just people we can’t afford to let down. Letting them know your schedule ahead of time will save you from most, if not all, of the drama.

    Challenging yourself to get better doesn’t only mean to multitask, but also to do something big or something new. How long you can motivate yourself to finish what you’ve started all depends on how deep your reason is.

    But these factors can be interrelated and their combination can result to an intense busyness, which might be horrible to imagine. That’s the time you might think you have no choice but to accept it as a challenge. We can lessen our busyness using different strategies, but there are really things that we have to give up or set aside. The key here is to prioritize what you truly value.

    Indeed, it’s hard being busy but it’s great, too, because it’s a way of stepping out from your comfort zone and focusing your time to the things you value most.

  3. Alain says:

    My strategy is that I do only what sits in my to-do list, which is flexible enough and reliable enough when you use (and trust) the right process.

    I work on 8 to 15 tasks per day (weekends excluded – that’s my golden rule – weekends are for family and fun!), one of them being “Empty all inboxes” to make sure I don’t get behind with email. If a task takes more than 1 hour, then it has to be split into smaller tasks.

    That way my workload is consistent and makes time for creativity as well. For instance, three tasks I have everyday are “Take a 20 minute walk” , “Take a picture to contribute to my 365 photography project” and “Write at least two sentences for my book”. It works well for me as my breaks and creative “tasks” are schedule to happen no matter what.

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