It is incredibly easy to be busy nowadays. If anything, it’s encouraged. Our culture has told us that we should take advantage of all of the 24 hours in the day so we can be our best selves and as successful as we can possibly be. The time in between classes and/or work should be filled with time working out or learning a new skill or networking. Being busy is a good thing, and constantly being on that grind should be the goal.
Quarantine has been no exception to this. In fact, you may remember the beginning of lockdown, where everyone talked about using the time indoors as an opportunity to pick up new hobbies, work on projects that they didn’t have time for, and somehow be even busier than they were before.
And because we can’t avoid it nowadays, social media takes this to another level. Social media gives us several platforms to talk about how busy we are. It can be chronicling everything we’re doing that day on our stories, posting about still working on an assignment with a 3:00 AM timestamp, or even just texting friends long paragraphs about how much we need to do.
Letting people know how busy we are isn’t a new thing though. You may have had face-to-face conversations where a friend goes off for minutes on end about the millions of things they have to do in response to a simple “how are you?” Talking and showcasing how much someone needs to do is known as “busy bragging,” and while very rarely intentional, comes with a lot of unintentional effects.
Most of the time, when we want to talk about how busy we are, it’s because we just need a reason to let out everything we’re going through and getting it out in the open. However, there is some satisfaction and validation people may feel whenever they talk about how overwhelmed and busy they are and want to keep seeking that out. In turn, being on the receiving end of the busy bragging can make the listener feel like they’re not doing enough and need to be on the same level as the busy person.
Social media can heighten these feelings of incompetence, competition, and just generally bad feelings about yourself for not doing enough. While it can help by posting and commiserating in misery with others who are doing the same assignments and studying for the same tests, social media can also increase our desire for that validation when people respond or even just see how busy we are. By seeing posts about peers and friends getting ahead on assignments and activities – even if you’re not taking the same classes or in the same field – you may feel ashamed that you’re not doing the same amount of work, or that you need to work harder, or your lifestyle isn’t worth sharing about because it’s not as “productive.”
It’s totally fine to post that pile of books and papers drowning your desk and computer during finals week. It’s also okay to post progress pictures about things you’re passionate about or proud of, like yourself post-workout or that thesis that you’re so close to finishing. At the same time though, constantly posting about being busy can ironically make you less productive since it’s taking time away from what you need to do and can not only overwhelm you by trying to come up with the perfect way to talk about how busy you are, but can also overwhelm followers and friends you follow you who are possibly going through the same thing.
At the end of the day, balance is key whenever posting about anything. It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to force yourself to be busy all the time, and being productive and hustling also includes time for yourself and taking breaks where you need to. These breaks can include social media, where you hopefully don’t have to see a stream of posts about that paper you’re taking a break from and can relax with cute animals instead.
Have you ever posted about how busy you are online? Do you usually post when you’re busy? Do you see posting about being busy as a form of stress relief, or as something else?