Staying busy is addictive. People have gotten so used to ‘doing’, having free time induces guilt. In many cultures, busyness is sold as a virtue. And we have bought the idea without analysing it. Free time makes us uncomfortable. It stares at us unblinkingly. To escape it, we self-impose busyness, enrolling for silly things.  

Allow me to tell you, busy is not the same as productive. 

But, hey! You already know this because all of us have that colleague who pretends to be busier and gives out underwhelming results. 

By now, you have figured out our theme for this week — watch how you spend your time. Time, a limited resource, is of utmost value. Spend it wisely. Engage yourself in meaningful things mindfully. Don’t be drunk on busyness because you are afraid of spending time with yourself. Science says challenging the brain keeps it in good shape for longer. Filling our mind with avoidables exhausts it.  

Here are 10 ways to make life busy for the right reason and avoid the trap.

Here are 10 ways to make life busy for the right reason and avoid the trap tell a friend

Transformative Ideas

Being Productive Unproductively: There is a difference between being busy and being productive. Samarth Khanna helps become the latter. But if you are the employee who likes to look busy when the colleagues walk past, there are two ways to be unproductively productive — call it perfectionism and research. Just kidding… maybe not.

Why We Must Actively ListenJoe is walking down a darkened alley when suddenly a man jumps out, brandishing a pistol. Listening to him saved Joe’s life. When you do not listen to the other person actively, you waste their time and yours. Sandeep Maher offers scenarios and tips on becoming an active listener. 

Yes! I Finally Uninstalled Facebook: 1) Social media is great for staying in touch with family and friends. 2) It is a must to showcase one’s work. That’s how it starts. Then, we fall down this rabbit hole so deep that stepping away induces withdrawal symptoms. Here’s Subhash Iyer, who has controlled his social media usage successfully. He shares a practical plan to increase productivity and contain mindless surfing.

On Being a Senior Citizen: Sundaram Venkatesh lists down the pros and cons of growing old. The article has an unpredictable end and learning. An excellent way to stay busy for three minutes.

Mummy, Will You Die Too?: Divya Pai shares a conversation with her seven-year-old about death. Replete with insights and an important lesson — we carry our hell and heaven within — the blog will leave you more enlightened. 

Achievement Unlocked – Beginning: Willpower is a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it becomes. Charu Joshi writes about the first resolution or sankalp he has been able to observe. Beneficial tips to keep up with the resolutions, promises, and deadlines.  

The Luthier of Calcutta: I ask you to think of someone who has found their purpose in the violin. What image does it conjure up? A violinist lost in creating mesmerising music. Why did we not see a person creating the perfect violin? Conditioning? Nandita writes about a luthier par excellence who understood the most important lesson there is to existence — the purpose of life is not to chase the idea of the grandiose, but to do anything that you do with your heart and soul. 

Stillness – A Space Between the Breath: Breathe and let go of everything you are doing, for you ought to enjoy this beautiful poem by Swati Gunwant. It is spiritual, stilling, and serene. 

Booked This Week

There is nothing personal about things not going our way. When I hear people say, ‘Oh I have so much grief in my life… I have been betrayed, disappointed, and so on’, I instinctively ask, ‘Well, who hasn’t had these unpleasant experiences?’

Adversity is as much a part of life as prosperity. In the book, No Mud, No Lotus —The Art of Transforming Suffering, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh makes a strong case for accepting suffering. Will we value spring if winter never came? We all know the answer. It would be boring. Hanh uses the metaphor of the lotus that blooms in the mud, to say suffering and happiness are organic. Accepting suffering is a way to lessen its effects. In the second section, he offers tools, practices, and meditation techniques to cultivate and nurture happiness. Do not waste time wallowing. Utilise it to grow and bloom. 

Wisdom From Swamiji

Living to the Fullest: Are you living to the fullest or just getting by? Swamiji shares an unfailing sign of a fulfilling life in this quick read. 

Weapons of Mass Distraction: “Playing video games is not bad. You may be passionate about updating your status on Facebook… But, it’s important to differentiate between productive and non-productive passion. Some of our passions are creative pursuits while others simply drain us out,” writes our beloved spiritual leader, Om Swami. Learn to value yourself. 

It’s important to differentiate between productive and non-productive passion + other reads to help you choose tell a friend

Watch This Now!

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Quote of the Week

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. And when you spend it, spend it wisely so that you get the most for your expenditure‘ ~~ Carl Sandburg.

The Winners

Finally, I have the result of the Freedom Challenge. Please give a round of applause to: 

Varun Om Khosla’s Quest for Freedom. A blind person has no future in computers, said his classmate who can clearly see how Varun wrote the code of his destiny to financial freedom. 

Shalini Pandey’s story of fighting colourism all her life will encourage you to never give up. In a country obsessed with fair skin, she was denied a fair chance by her boss. She assumed Eklavya-like focus to dazzle them with her talent. 

Prachi Kolte, a trained physiotherapist, did not let a creepy doctor, dwindling private practice, an anxious employer, or a not-so-successful career chain her morale. At 34, she broke free from the conditioning that you can’t switch careers to dance her way to freedom!

A blind person has no future in computers, said his classmate who can clearly see how Varun wrote the code of his destiny to financial freedom tell a friend

The theme for the next weekly round-up — The Brain. Everything from how to improve it, tips to make it sharper, ways to make it calmer, understanding the functioning will make the cut as long as it has some personal story.

Until next…

PS: Hey! We got featured in the August issue of Travel and Leisure magazine. You can access the online version, here. Give it a read!