6.18.14 - On Being Busy and Introversion

BFF sent this great blog this morning about how our society has gotten so incredibly busy, and how to step away from that whirl-a-gig.

I read it, and couldn’t help but think - we introverts sometimes use our busy-ness as a shield to get out of doing things. Being “busy” is a socially acceptable way of saying no to things that exhaust us, of saying no without hurting feelings. Everyone understand busy. No one understands, or wants to hear the truth: going to that party will mentally exhaust me for several days, and I have a looming deadline which is making me feel all sorts of squicky, so I think I’d rather stay in and binge watch Orange is the New Black than hang out, but thanks.

Introverts recognize that spending 5 hours at a party is not only going to cut into our “me” time, it’s going to have a ripple effect through the rest of the week. A late night out can disrupt your sleep schedule, turning a regular workday into a slog. Conferences are the hardest — four days of being on, having fun, interacting with friends and fans can be devastating to the schedule and temperament of an introvert. Do we have fun? Absolutely! But are there consequences? Definitely.

I have to be careful what I say yes to. I can get easily distracted, and also, easily pulled out of my routine. I know myself well enough now to understand how my body works. Where I used to be wildly spontaneous, I’ve probably gone a bit too far in the opposite direction, needing tons of notice for events and the like, so I can store up sleep and do extra work beforehand to maintain my daily counts. Ridiculous, I know, but there it is.

Like many introverts, I have a core group of people I do things with, people who energize and entertain, rather than sap my energies. I’m lucky my DH is of a very similar temperament, and our best nights are ones spent alone together or with close friends.

We are busy, absolutely. Mind-numbingly so, sometimes. You can’t write two books a year and run your own business without putting in long, arduous hours. But sometimes I wonder if my knee-jerk reaction - I can’t do that, I’m so busy - isn’t a symptom of something more.

Part of my new year’s resolution was to spend more time with people in real life. I’ve done a good job of that this year. And the next time my inclination is to say I’m so busy, I’ll think about the words and make a decision - am I really, or am I simply being an introvert?

Food for thought, at least. To whit:

A mortifying 560 words today. I do know this: I really do need to learn how to say no to things. And that's not being an introvert, that's just protecting time. 

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J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.