Busy, living in present, planning for future: What’s your status?

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Living in present was never a priority because I was so busy planning for future.

By Swati Chauhan

Caught up in the daily buzz, running from one customer meeting to the other, finishing a call to take up the one that I put on hold and jumping in apt attention on every next phone alert…it was like escaping from one long red light to be caught at another and then another till the whole day is over. That was my life as a sales manager!


Coming back home late from work instead of relaxing, taking a breath of relief and relishing the joy you get after a hard days work I would often open my laptop to utilize that last few minutes before the day was over.


Sometimes if that wasn’t possible (if in case the laptop had run out of battery and called it quits!), I would call up work colleagues and dealers to take stock of their work.


So uncomfortable was I being alone in my own company.  


I kept so busy from the moment I got up till the time I went back to bed that to be alone doing nothing seemed an awkward possibility.


I packed my days or rather the free hours of my day with as many obligations I can come up with, forcing myself to believe that I am as important as my daily to do list. My sole mission of each day to check off all items of it and to start the next day with another.


Busyness: your own choice


But I wonder now if being a part of it wasn’t my own choice.


Are we not guilty for this ‘busyness’ business we pretend to keep ourselves wrapped up in to shoo away fears of being unimportant and worthless and probably to push back a few monsters in our head?


We assure ourselves that this is the only way to be happy and successful. That our degree of busyness represents somehow our graph of success in life.


The pat response that I receives nowadays from friends and colleagues (with a triumphant victorious smile on their face!)to my how-are-you is not good, great or fine but a monosyllabic ‘busy’ or a dual syllabic ‘hectic’….both of which are misconstrued as signs of a prosperous and good life.



Bag packs of busyness:


And if that wasn’t enough ,we have included the kids in it too. I remember the much awaited two month summer vacations in school when we used to visit our grandparents. Our days were filled with long hours of doing nothing freedom where we used to chase butterflies, play with the pets or run around each other in hot summer afternoons but the butterflies have been replaced by our high aspirations and we chase dreams as we enroll our kids in all kinds of extra courses and classes, trying to keep them away from being idle fearing it would somehow rust their minds and make them less ambitious.


But please don’t think of us as boring or un-happening….to escape this dead beat routine( and to make sure we have enough pics to make a decent Facebook album), we make sure to go on some hilly or sandy vacations every year. But we forget, going on a vacation is one thing and training our minds to relax another.


So even when on vacation, we carry our busyness still packed in our bags.


I remember while vacating at one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain last summer, people laying on sandy beaches, feeling the warm waves occasionally tinkling their feet and then suddenly jumping up at the beep of their phone (as if waking to reality from a beautiful dream)to check texts, reply to emails, chat long hours and even have teleconferences. Phew…now that’s what I call getting-all-worked-up on a vacation!


Getting down from the ball:


During an episode of American popular show fear factor, the contestants were hung high in the air(with a rope) and made to stand on a giant ball. Slowly the ball started moving and you had to match your feet with it. Till you could keep pace with the moving ball you were winning, the moment you got out of sync , you fell.


In some funny (and sad) way, we have made our lives today a lot similar to the Fear factor task. We keep running from task to task, trying to maintain delicate balance, to keep up with the fast moving life zipping below our feet and we convince ourselves this is the only way to win.


We define our own success in terms of how long we could keep pace with the moving ball.


To be with oneself or spend some time alone doesn’t term you a loner, shy or introvert, it is also not equal to yoga or meditation .


It just means getting off the ball sometimes(without falling!) to reflect on the other more important aspects of life that truly define our happiness or the lack of it. To take time to sort internally the questions that haunt our lives…. failing relationships, poor quality of life, reclining health, decreasing productivity, increasing stress and the list could go on. But the underlining message is to get down from the ball once in a while to take time out for yourself and for things that matter most to you in the long run.


I have traveled a long journey from that day to where I stand today.

Learning to relax slowly, to slow down, to stop and appreciate the beauty of life that lays around me, to be thankful of the countless blessings I have been endowed with and to simply just be with myself…it isn’t so awkward any more, to acknowledge my own feelings and to take a step back and observe life without getting carried away with it.

If you enjoyed reading this post you might also like to read  10 signs of a Healthy Relationship10 Reasons why 30′s is the most awesome time of your life,  and  35 Things Indians do differently than the rest of the world. By Swati Chauhan 


I am Swati Chauhan and i live in the South of Sweden. A computer engineer and a Management graduate by education, I am a writer by passion. I write about personal growth, self motivation,increasing productivity, optimizing life,achieving goals,social skills and increasing the Happiness quotient of your life.


  1. People work hard to make money and live happily, but somehow, we have forgotten that ‘living happily’ part and work to make money (alone)! If we look at the goals of many people, it will be to reach a certain CTC or reach a certain position (in company), but almost no one plans how to spend all that money. We hoard, hoard and hoard until we are dead. And then, our children abuse all the wealth available instantly at their disposal.

    Basically, I feel, people don’t know how to set proper goals, which is at the root of all this nonsense.

    • Hi Destination Infinity,
      I agree to a certain extent. We do are disillusioned and are missing out on the more important goals in life like good health, loving relationships and a good quality of life.

  2. Well said Swati. We work for the future and we forget to live the present. In these busy schedules, people forgot the values, traditions, relationships, love, empathy and many more. Where are we going. Still remains a big question mark?

    • Hi Krishna,
      Its a sad truth. Relationships, meeting up, laughter’s, doing things together is becoming a thing of the past and we don’t even seem to notice…it doesn’t bothers us. We are happily living this mechanized life. I think its time to set our priorities right and stop being dictated by what others want us to do and achieve.

  3. One of the very reasons I decided to take a break from working… i used to busy myself so much, be busy all day, all night, work over the weekend, on vacations. it burnt me out.. never learnt to live in the present… its called a present for a reason right? I didn’t realize till much later.. so now here I am, being busy but with something I like doing… ensuring I take that time out to appreciate it all the more.

    Well written Swati 🙂

    • Rightly said Seeta, its a tough choice that we need to make at times. Your work is always a delight, so I am sure you made the right choice:)

  4. Wonderfully put Swati. This is one obsession I am not comfortable with to the core. I have seen so many examples of Hrithik’s character in ZNMD – I recall that scene when he gets into a conference with his Japanese client while on vacation. Keeping yourself occupied in something is good, but considering “being busy” as the ONLY indicator of success is a bit of a stretch.

    • Thanks Ruminating Optimist,

      Glad we share the same views. I actually wonder at these people, how do they go on in their lives working so much and what really drives them. Doint they ever stop and question themselves what exactly are they achieving and missing out on?
      By the way, congratulations for your post being selected as a Spicy Saturday Read:)


  5. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little
    homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I found it for him…

    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your site.

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