Miss W’s blog: Stop the glorification of busy

I have a theory. Yes, another one. It’s a theory about saving time in order to be less busy, which sounds simple but in reality it’s not all that easy to do. You see, for the last few weeks I’ve found myself starting so many emails with the terribly poor excuse: ‘Sorry for my delayed reply, I’ve been really busy these past few weeks.’ Or when I see friends and they ask how I am, I go onto autopilot and say: “Oh you know how it is at this time of year in Ibiza, so busy.”

The thing about this behaviour – yes, my own behaviour – is that it makes me cringe. Because I know when I am on the receiving end of the same kinds of emails and comments, I scoff on the inside and mutter to myself: ‘Yeah, yeah, we’re all busy.’ So first things first – if you’re reading this blog, and I’ve used those phrases on you in the past, please accept my apologies right now! I don’t know what it is that makes me think my time is so much more valuable than anyone else’s? What makes me think I am any busier than anyone else? It’s the global glorification of being busy that makes us fall back on these phrases as a standard excuse, and it’s not an excuse that does you any favours in the eye of the receiver.

The fact is, it’s the middle of high summer on a seasonal island. I’m busy, you’re busy, he’s busy, she’s busy, they’re busy, my cats are busy, we’re all busy. Even the tourists are busy – have you SEEN all the stuff they’ve got to try and cram into a weeklong vacay these days (I mean, just look how busy they are in that boat in the pic above!)? Yesterday my friend Miss R – who is the self-confessed voice of a generation (the generation below mine, obviously) here in Ibiza – posted on her social media feed that everyone in Ibiza seems to be obsessed with telling you how many hours they’ve worked that week. “Tell the inland revenue – I’m not arsed!” she says and I have to agree with her.

I stopped counting hours a long time ago. I stopped doing that when I realised that actually, my job makes me happy and I enjoy doing it – so what if you work more hours in the summer time? As long as those hours aren’t making you miserable, depressed, angry, irrational, anxious – then I think it’s ok. And for some people, there’s the off chance all those extra hours are making you rich (depending on your vocation of course!), in which case it’s another reason to smile. If someone is forcing you to work crazy hours and you’re not financially rewarded AND it’s making you unhappy, well then to me, that just sounds like cause for change rather than complaints (unless you’ve been kidnapped and sold into slavery in which case DM me and I will call the police for you).

Clock watchers are a weird breed. I’m not sure it gels with the white isle lifestyle and attitude really – it’s a given here that everyone is always 10 minutes late (“on island time” – except my friend Miss J, who is perennially 10 minutes early, but she’s an exception), that you might sleep in on a Tuesday morning but you’ll work late on another night. Asking for overtime is something you might do if you worked in a bank (here, you’re more likely to be paid ‘in energy exchange’ – for example, I’ll swap you a massage for some work) and accruing holiday days or being paid time and a half for working on bank holidays? Who thinks of these things? It all has a way of working itself out in the wash – as long as you meet your deadlines and don’t let people down. Then of course, it can get messy.

If you’re coming to Ibiza from a big city or straight out of university, you might find the lack of structure in the workplace here a little frustrating. But dig deeper and get into the rhythm of island life, and you’ll realise there was a structure here all along – you just have to get into the flow, then things will flow your way too. Try to fight it, try to implement rules, regulations, laws and prohibitions… well, there’s a saying that the island either swallows you or it spits you out, and I can say after more than a decade, it’s seems to always be those who don’t learn to embrace the way of working here who are spat out after a couple of seasons.

So where was I? That’s right, we were talking about my theory about being busy – yes, let’s get back to that. I have a theory, that if we all (myself included) simply stopped spending so much time saying (or typing as the case may be) how busy we are, we’d end up with more time on our hands to get more stuff DONE. Live in the moment y’all and the curse of being busy could actually be broken… Who wants to take the test with me?