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How to Overcome Notbusyitis

by Kellyn Roth |
February 27, 2019

As I’m writing this (Tuesday), I don’t have work because of the snow. It’s 2:30 (4:10 now that I’m going through and editing), but instead of leaving for work in forty-five minutes, I’ll just … be here. On the couch. Presumably being useless.

I have a little-known disease called Notbusyitis. Victims of Notbusyitis are not busy — and yet they get even less things done than they would have if they were busy.

In this article, we’ll discuss causes, symptoms, and cures for Notbusyitis in hopes that through my procrastination I’ll actually accomplish something (e.g. write a blog post).

Causes of Notbusyitis

The primary cause of Notbusyitis appears to be possession of the name Kellyn Roth, redheadedness, lefthandedness, and, of course, having nothing which I absolutely must do.

If you do not fill all these requirements, then you probably will not contract Notbusyitis.

I have yet to meet anyone but myself who is a frequent carrier of the disease. This is partially because everyone but me seems to be quite busy or at least seems to get more done when they are not busy.

Confused yet?

I think the primarily reason is my own lazynessor perhaps the lack of urgency. Yet there’s always some deadline looming in just a bit, always some more work to do (e.g. this blog post).

But still I waste entire days when I’m not busy. Weekends, snow days, vacations. I never work as hard as I ought on them.

Symptoms of Notbusyitis

Of course, not working is the primary symptom, specifically not working when you’re not busy.

A crippling feeling of guilt and grief over the rapidly slipping-by hours is an accompanying emotion.

I can escape without guilt when I have work and chores and a bajillion other things to do. After all, I have an excuse then for not getting a bunch done. But even so, I do tend to get a LOT done while I’m working.

For instance, two days in a row last week I wrote over 2K in an hour. My fingers flew along the keyboard. Why? I wasn’t getting any more time that day to write. I had no choice.

I’ve also written blog posts and scheduled social media and done a thousand other things in a quarter of the time I usually do!

So I know I can get things done much faster than I generally do. But I don’t.

Stupid Notbusyitis.

Cures for Notbusyitis

Um … there are none? I’m stuck with this for the rest of my life?

Okay, okay. There are cures. Here’s what I’m doing today to overcome my Notbusyitis.

  • Opened up a new document.
      • I knew I needed a blog post. I knew it would be easier to write it in a document without worrying about formatting. So that was a start.
  • Grabbed earphones and turned on music loud enough to drown out my little brother’s stupid Minecraft videos.
      • Honestly, there is nothing STUPIDER (lol) than watching a video of someone else playing Minecraft, specifically when it’s a dumb-looking squeally nerdy pre-teen who needs a life.
      • I am not letting my kids play video/computer games. I don’t care. I’m just not. I got along fine without them, and my childhood was AWESOME. It was so much fun!
      • I mean, yeah, I’ve spent most of today doing stuff on the computer … but THAT’S DIFFERENT. I’m actually doing creative and money-making stuff. *self-righteous nod*
      • But anyway, yeah, music + sound-block-outage helps.
  • Decided what I needed to do today.
      • Write this blog post, make a graphic for said blog post, get it all formatted and scheduled and whatnot, unpack and practice instruments, and finish up with some plot sheets before settling in for some writing followed by from proofreading.
      • It’s … manageable. (Actually, this is three hours of work, but I don’t want to.)
  • Decided to do them all one at a time.
      • Obviously I started with the blog post. And I wrote up as much of it as I could (first draft) before going on to unpack instruments. Follow by making coffee (for reasons) followed by coming back to write more blog post.
      • I tend to get bored easily if I do any one thing for too long.
  • Started doing them.
    • I’ve found that writing that I’m doing things in a blog post even if it isn’t coming out until the morning is inspirational. More like a kick in the pants, but whatever.

So I did start to do them, but of course I got distracted (Duck Dynasty).

I made a list of them (in the document, haha) and started highlighting them in red as I finished them. (I’d already done some, so I was already ahead.)

The To-Do List

  • Write this blog post
  • Make a graphic for said blog post
  • Get it all formatted and scheduled and whatnot
  • Unpack and practice instruments
  • Finish up with some plot sheets
  • Writing and proofreading after all that’s done

Slowly, I finished it!

In summary, the battle against Notbusyitis is a long and harrowing one, but it can be overcome.


~Kellyn Roth~

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AM I REALLY THE ONLY ONE? I think I am. Also, what to you struggle with most when it comes to ? What author diseases are you infected by? (Would you like a series of posts about author diseases? Or a post dedicated to defining different ones?) What are you working on today?

What do you think of my thoughts?

32 Responses

  1. Kell! And here I was thinking about how annoyingly overwhelming my Notbusyitis is! The and worst part is I HAD deadlines. *facesmacks* I was gonna write a post, finish an assignment, add a chapter- and then.. um… Pinterest happened. *dies* So this was really encouraging. For some odd reason. 😛 Also yes, computer games are fun but nobody will die without them. 😀 *also coughs and shuts down animator tabs*

    1. Haha! I have deadlines, but like in May, so I’m not focusing well. 😛 I’m like, “Ehhh … those are a long time awayyyy …” And then I know very well that eventually it will sneak up on me!

  2. NOPE you are definitely not the only one. Uhhh just ask me where my weekends all went cause they went nowhere. Duck Dynasty <3 I absolutely agree, it makes me so frustrated with people when they sit in front of screens watching other people sit in front of screens -_- Congrats on overcoming Notbusyitis today 😉

    1. YES! Same about the weekends. I’m always like, “Well, I’ll figure it out on the weekend …” But nope. Doesn’t happen.

      YES, Duck Dynasty. We discovered it was on Amazon Prime, so now we’re watching a ton of it. 😛

      RIGHT!? C’mon, y’all … get out there and do something. Or at least play the game yourself! 😛

  3. I have a severe case of Notbusyitis. But it was overwhelmingly encouraging to know I’m not the only one ? But seriously, this was great. And also really helpful too! I’ve had Notbusyitis since 4 years ago (when I started writing LOL) (actually I’ve had this since I was born) so hopefully now I can start moving towards a cure.
    (Also Duck Dynasty ?)
    And YES a series on authors diseases would be SO amazing!!!

    1. Wow! I never would’ve thought it. I thought everyone else actually had stuff to do. 😉 Haha! But yes, I think it’s pretty much been since I was born … *sigh* 😛

      (YES! It’s so hilarious …)

      I’ll have to work at that! I have a couple ideas, including ATBS (Author Temporary Blindness Syndrome … it’s complicated).

  4. I relate to this. Nothing like deadlines – or a giant pressing to-do list – to encourage productivity. I’m with you!
    However, I’m also slowly learning that work/productivity isn’t always the best way to spend my time. Sometimes those guilty feelings are legitimate (get to work, Erika!) and sometimes they are false. Rather, the key is being Mindful, Purposeful, and Intentional. Pray. Evaluate your time. Evaluate your list. Prioritize. And fill your time with what is the best way to spend that moment, whether it’s on the list or not. (That’s why prayer, helping someone with a job, relaxing when needed, going for a walk, etc. aren’t a waste of time even when they’re not on the list!)

    Now I’m off to make today’s list! And yes, author diseases sounds like a fun topic!

    1. Yep, exactly!

      I very rarely am productive so most of the time my guilt is real, haha. 😛 I don’t have a busy life, or really a need to rest, so there’s not so much a need for it!

      I think I might do the author diseases! 😛

  5. Definitely not the only one! Haha this has hit me just about every snow day we’ve had this season (granted there haven’t been many, but still). I start out thinking “Oh, I can sleep in and then get so many things done!!” but then, other than sleeping in…very few of the things get done lol.

    A series of posts on author diseases sounds fun and useful. I’d say the one I suffer from most is selective hearing loss…or maybe it’s that my characters get selective muteness? I can plan everything out, have an outline, learn all about my characters and their quirks and lives, but then when I go to actually write the story, they stop talking to me! Or on worse days they’ll keep telling me I’m writing their story wrong, but they won’t tell me the right way.

    Side note: coffee might be the cure for everything. It gives you a chance to take a break while still being productive, and think through anything frustrating/confusing/bothersome in a slightly different setting, which can be super helpful (at least to me)!

    1. Well, at least you accomplished sleeping in! 😛 I often do that … #verygoodrealaccomplishments BUT YEP, about the same thing happens with me! Slowwww start to nothing.

      Haha! I figure that’s some sort of problem with the characters … *glares at them* They’re probably just stubborn.

      LOL! I gotta agree about coffee.

  6. “Follow by making coffee (for reasons)” I relate ? In fact, I should probably make some now and do writing… ?

    I also relate to having Notbusyitis. I sit there, knowing there’s stuff I COULD be doing, and yet not doing it. And feeling so guilty and horrible in general because I WANT to do stuff but at the same time, I don’t want to do what’s on my list of things to do. ?

  7. I think Notbusyitis plagues more than just writers. It can happen to anybody. I’ve been known to waste weekends, days off work, and vacations. I struggle with being lazy. I know I have things to do but the lack of urgency in a time when I have too much time takes over. What helps me is to write down a list of all the needs I need/would like to do. Then, I decide which ones have a higher priority (writing friends, picking a recipe to cook, reading a book, memorizing scripture, organizing my desk, spending time with family.) Another thing that has helped me is waking up earlier. I know. Wouldn’t that give me even more time in which I am not busy? Actually, waking up earlier helps to put my mind in a productive mood, especially if I drink water immediately after waking up. I’m currently waking up at 5:45 to pray/read my Bible before going on a walk at 7. After that, I wash clothes, eat breakfast, etc. before going to work at 9. I’m at work all day. On days off, I do the things I couldn’t do during the week. I tend to not turn on my computer at all except once or twice a week. (Yes, I have a phone.) Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. It is a struggle but I know I’m not alone.

    1. Yep, I’d agree! For some reason, it’s just a hard disease to escape! 😛

      Waking up early doesn’t help me because my brain doesn’t get up until about eight. 😛 But if I wake up before about seven, then I spend the rest of the day in a haze, haha. 😉

  8. I am an occasional victim of this disease. Usually I’ll do one of two things: 1) Stare at the ceiling trying to think of something to do… even though there are five hundred things I could be doing, or 2) Spend an obsessive amount of time knitting.
    A series of author diseases would be great! Surely I’m not the only one who frequently suffers from “I Hate My Book Syndrome”…

  9. I am seriously afflicted by this from time to time. I know what I should do (Though if it’s writing the details are unclear), i’d probably be happier if i did it, but sometimes i get nothing done, and just spend my time of slightly interesting pointless things.

  10. Overcoming notbusyitis– yay you! As for me, I’m a little too busy for comfort right now. Thank you, five weeks of vacation that are catching up to me really painfully. xD

  11. Well, I don’t have red hair, and I’m not lefthanded, and my name is not Kellyn Roth, but I think I get Notbusyitis sometimes, anyway. It’s weird, because there are times that I think, “Wow, there are so many things I want to do in life, but I have to put them off because I’m doing Calculus right now.” Then, if I actually have time one day, I can’t for the life of me remember what any of those things were. 😛

    Unlike you, though, if I decide to do something, I don’t want to be interrupted then if I have to do something else. It puts me in a bad mood. 😛


    1. Yes! I’m exactly like that. “I wish I could do something but I’m too busy …” Then when I have a day off, nope. Nothing gets done! Ah, well. 😛

      Yeah, I have a bunch of things I’ll do that most won’t … like have a video or TV show playing in the background while I’m working to give my brain something to think about!

  12. DUDE. You are NOT the only one that suffers from this. I have it all the time! XD I graduated three years ago and I’m struggling trying to keep myself busy so I don’t get too lazy and depressed. It’s so weird being an adult and not having school as a basis for most of your responsibilities isn’t it? 😛 And then I feel so guilty and struggle to keep myself motivated with my writing cuz I feel like I should be out there looking for a REAL job. :/ I have a small one but it’s not much, and it’s hard to find another one.

    1. I am SOOOO glad I’m graduated and have time, but yeah, the fluidity can be a bit weird. 😛 I don’t ever want to go to college (just …), but sometimes it’s cool how people have stuff to do. 😉

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