“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
- Henry David Thoreau
While Thomas Jefferson stated earlier this week that we should determine “never to be idle“, Thoreau says that is not enough. Instead, he asks “what are we busy about?”
There are plenty of people in the world who are always busy, but never seem happier or more accomplished than the rest of us. The danger of working is not to be too busy – the danger is to get caught in the disease of doing work for work’s sake. To some extent, I think that we all fall victim to this at some point or another. I know I’ve been there myself.
I think there are two questions that need to be asked to keep us productively busy instead of just busy. Throughout the day, ask yourself:
- Is my current task bringing me closer to my goals?
- Is my current task driving me away from what is truly important in my life?
The first question will keep you productive at work and help ensure the best use of your time. The second question will help you to maintain focus on what is truly important to you. Both of these are critical for success and happiness in your life!
Of course, these questions assume that you have defined goals for yourself, and that you have consciously decided what is important in your life – but those are matters for another blog post!
About Henry David Thoreau: Best known as a naturalist and philosopher, Thoreau was a man that wore many hats throughout the course of his life. His writings have continued to affect aspects of life beyond just environmentalism, long after his death in 1862.