How to fill our days

This short piece was inspired by a moment of clarity I had while sippin’ on my favourite drink from Starbucks and musing over this article  before heading to work. Back in 2019.

It’s part critical self-awareness, and part caffeine-induced 6:00AM rant.


Busyness is a badge of honour in a capitalist society that constantly nudges us to be productivity machines.

The result is “the burdensome, expectation-freighted nature of free time.

Every moment in the day is expected to be filled with endless tasks, no matter how meaningless, so we can justify our value to a capitalist economy. Busyness, with a never-ending responsibilities and tasks to accomplish, has been turned to a thing that signals to others how important we are.

For most of us, however, our busyness is a facade.

Not much of the time we spend frantically moving from one task to another is actually spent on productive and/or fulfilling activities.

Most of our busyness is busyness for busyness sake.

To compete in the Busyness Olympics, sporting events including, who got the least sleep last night, who have had the most amount of coffee today (and it’s only 11:05 AM *gasp*), and who had a busier weekend filled with activities one couldn’t possibly fit within a 48-hour period.

If we take a step back, however, it becomes painfully obvious to see how devoid of genuine usefulness or meaning most of the activities we engage in are.

How do I feel so busy, anxious and stressed all the time, yet do not have anything truly meaningful to show for it? Something that is truly important to show for all the busyness, anxiousness, and stress I feel?

The solution?

Here’s what I’ve been working on over the years.

Opt-out.

Re-design your lifestyle.

Brag about the 7-9 hours of sleep you get each night.

Go for a walk.

Nurture your hobby(ies).

Kill your phone.

Boast about all the books you have been reading in your free time.

And, as Jordan Peterson reminds us, “always postpone meetings with time-wasting morons.”

Fill your days with silence, contemplation, and boredom.

Until next time. . . 

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Published by Mehret Biruk

(re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world.