Years ago I started noticing people saying, “I can’t do that. I’m busy doing this” or “I’m too busy for that kind of thing.” People everywhere were saying it. I was one of them! Many seemed to be saying it as if they were wearing a badge of honor. I began to wonder if that was such a good thing or if was just another 4 letter word.
As I was thinking of writing this post I wondered about the saying “busy as a bee“. I’ve always heard what a good thing that was, however I wondered if the saying had anything to do with the need many feel to be busy.
I started searching the internet asking how busy bees are. I found quite a bit of information in online magazines, bee keeping and honey sites, etc, but will link to the Mental Floss article, “Are Bees Really All That Busy? because it had most of the info in one place.
Bees are busy, some more than others. Some bees make more than 100 trips outside per day. Researchers have found that 20% of them will do “half of the total recorded flight activity”. Each bee has a job and does it well. If you are ever outside and watch a bee flying from place to place you can see just how active they can be.
However, in the winter time, bees will take a long rest, huddling up close to keep the queen and themselves warm. Bees who work inside the hive will take frequent breaks. Bees who fly in and out of the hive will come in at night and rest till morning. The drone bee will do his job and then spend most of the day in the hive with other bees caring for him.
One of the cool things is how the hive works together. Researchers waited for the most hard working bees (the bees that did the most flying) and “bee-napped” them. Then they studied the bees left behind. Some of the bees left behind now took over the busiest jobs.
Bees work, but they also know how to rest. Bees do the things that matter and don’t try to fill all their break times with more work. Because bees work together and don’t individually try and do it all, they are able to quickly change their jobs and fill in for the missing bees, making sure everything gets done.
How many of us start with the most important things we need to do in the day? How many of us then start to fill in every spare moment thinking we have to do it all? How many of us feel incomparably busy, but then feel…empty and exhausted with nothing more to give?
Years ago, after looking observing everything busy, I came to this conclusion: I don’t want to be busy. I want to be fulfilled. Now that I understand that bees are wise with their time, I want to be busy as a bee.
To be fulfilled, you have to be conscious of the work you are doing and choose wisely. Dallin Oaks talked about this with “good, better and best” choices. When we decide to do something, do we stop to decide if it is the “best” thing to do? There are thousands of “good” things we can do, but if that means we don’t have time for the “best” things then we are never going to feel fulfilled. We will eventually become hollow.
Last night, I watched a video that I hope to share later at another time. In it, Holly Olson Smith talks about the much good we can do in the world and of our choices in how to go about doing it. I love one of the last things she said after this:
“Do we shortchange ourselves when we fill our lives with busyness?”
Have you shortchanged yourself? What did you do to change that? What do you plan to do?