“I’ve got so many things to do, I can’t get anything done.” This line sounds like something that Yogi Berra would have said akin to “that restaurant is so crowded, nobody goes there.” But my guess is that you or someone you know, has made this statement, or something similar, in the past.
The more you dwell on how busy you are, the less focused you are in getting anything done. We feel stressed when overscheduled, which impacts our happiness. What many of us don’t know is that it also impacts the way we behave towards others. A study done in the 1970s centered around the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan who stops to help a person in distress. In this study, Seminary students were told that their project was to teach the story of the Good Samaritan to students in a classroom down the hall. As they were getting ready to leave for the other classroom, some students were told that they were late and needed to hurry. Near that other classroom, a man lay on the ground in obvious pain and in distress. Unbeknownst to the students, the man was an actor hired as part of the study. The findings of the study were that the students who were told they were late for their project were less likely to help the person in need.
Cassie Mogilner Holmes, a professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making at UCLA and author of the book, Happier Hour, ran a similar study. She simply asked one group of students to write about their day and another group to write about how many things that they needed to get done that day. Towards the end of her class, she asked her students if they would be willing to stay 15 minutes after class to help a high school student writing a college entrance essay. The results were similar to the Good Samaritan study. The group thinking about their busy day was less likely to stay the extra 15 minutes to help someone else.
When we are busy, we find it difficult to do anything but try to work through our tasks and projects. However, we can try to prioritize our tasks and projects to become more efficient and change our mindset from concentrating on lists of tasks to focusing on what’s important. None of us want to miss out on important moments or creative ideas because of our busy schedules. Hopefully, we can keep stress levels low enough so that we always find a way to help others in need.
Take care and stay safe.
Shantaram (Apple TV+)
Fugitive Lin Ford looks to get lost in chaotic 1980s Bombay; alone in an unfamiliar city, Lin struggles to avoid trouble but falls for an enigmatic woman and must choose between freedom and love and the complications that come with it.