• Blog

    We are all busy so you can stop telling everyone now!


    I started this blog post and I was going to write about the ways in which routine, especially for a writer, can help counter all the busy in our lives but then my mind wandered off.

    I know we all spend a lot of time these days telling each other how busy we are.

    In fact, if I one more person tells me how busy they are I may scream. Not because they’re not busy but because the truth is most people are busy. (I might even be busy…maybe, probably not, but maybe…)

    If you have a job, elderly parents, kids, a partner, friends, you volunteer, you play a sport, you cook, you go the the gym, you have a hobby, you’re in a bookclub or any combination of those things you are more than likely busy. So I think that pretty much covers most people. We’re all busy.

    (There are also different types of busy – good, happy, I’m planning to climb Everest busy is not the same as bad, scary, I think I’m losing my job and my kid is sick busy. The first is exciting and invigorating and really you shouldn’t complain. The second type is not what I’m talking about here AT ALL. The first is made up of adrenalin and interesting choices and the second is a hard slog where you need to reach out for support because you need some of the other busy people to make some time and help you even if they have to skip bookclub or a yoga class.)

    There are definitely times some people are more busy than others – five kids under five and you are busy, finding elder care for parents and you’re busy, a major work event the week before Christmas and you are busy – all those things at once and well, you’re crazy busy.

    Some people however are always busy and often so busy telling you that, they barely have time to stop and ask you about your life.

    So when I say “please don’t tell me you’re bus”y I mean the day to day life stuff that we all have it’s just life. It’s the life you’ve chosen to have.

    When you tell someone “I’m so busy” you’re really saying. “I’m very important.”

    Or when you say “I’m too busy to volunteer/read a book/join a gym” , which no doubt your companion has just announced that they do, well, what you are really saying is either:

    a) I’m busy doing things that are important to me and that thing you do has little or no value to me (or less value than the things I choose to do). (And that is actually fine…I would rather read than go to a gym any day…busy or not…and I know loads of people who are the opposite.)
    b) I really feel bad I’m not doing that thing, I would kind of like to, so I’ll put the fact that you are doing it down.

    “I’m so busy” as an excuse every time you see someone makes them feel like they should thank you for finding time for them. It also seems to impy you think they aren’t busy. They may in fact just juggle things better, or not tell you about the many things on their plate because you’re too busy to listen, return a phone call or heck even meet up.

    You know that expression “If you want something done give it to a busy person?” Chances are someone with far more on their plate than you has the time to do that thing you can’t. Just don’t tell them how busy you are as the reason you can’t do it.

    My post on the power of routine will appear later in the week.

  • Blog

    Bookclubs – a conversation

    6/6/2012 0 Comments

    I am lucky enough to be part of a really wonderful bookclub here in Sydney. I’m not sure exactly when bookclubs became so very popular but I think it was sometime in the late nineties or early naughties.

    Our bookclub has been going for about six years…It began quite simply.

    It was a time when there was a group of us who were of similar age (We met at Uni) but at different stages of our lives. Some had small children and lacked stimulating conversation, some were just back from living abroad, some had big jobs and no time to socialise, some had no children and wanted to find common ground with those immersed in them. Similar women with different lives.

    So we hatched a plan. A bookclub with a core group of six of us and each of us had to bring a friend or two that no one knew. That way we would all meet new people and at first at least not revert to our usual conversations.

    Our first book was The Kite Runner and we met in an Afghan restaurant. We were a little nervous and excited. We got off to a great start and have been going strong since.

    We’ve had members come and go because of work, study or moving away. Sometimes people bow out for the year but still come to Christmas dinner, everyone is always welcome back. I miss some of the girls who moved away but then I try to keep up with them out fo bookclub. Not always possible but always worth the effort.

    We meet once a month (like a restaurant because we are geographically spread across all corners of Sydney (We have members in Southern Sydney, the Inner West, the East, Northern Beaches and on the North Shore). If you choose the book (and we take turns) then you choose the restaurant. So all these years later we’ve read some great books and eaten some great food. (I can probably recommend a restaurant to you should you need one on theme).

    I feel lucky to have met these women and I have become friends with people I would never have met otherwise. It has been an absolute joy for me.

    Our bookclub reads an eclectic mix of books – we don’t have a genre. This year we’ve done The Great Gatsby, What Rachel Forgot and The Room to name a few.

    Almost every book we’ve done we have managed to find questions for online which helps us stay focused.

    That’s my bookclub. If you are in one -how does yours work and what advice would you give to someone starting a bookclub?