I find that busyness is such vague concept. For most people, it just means they they feel harried by all of the things that fill their life. But as you point out, the activities that can take up our time aren’t all equal.
Because we generally hate being bored, something will expand to fill the space. Most people don’t feel like they have enough “spare time”, because their life ends up being capitalized by television, social media, checking email, work or social commitments, and they feel like these things are happening to them rather than by choice. They’re passively giving away so much time that when they want to choose to do something, their time has all been spent.
Busyness is only good when you’re actively choosing to pursue the things you care about. You may spend your Saturday volunteering instead of sitting on the couch, and you feel better at the end of the day, even though you were super busy on the weekend.
But the only way you can get there is to start making those choices for yourself. That means saying no to passively investing time in sitting on the couch or playing with your phone. It may mean saying no to social commitments that you don’t really enjoy. Once you start actively deciding what to be busy with, it’s amazing how refreshing and energizing being busy can be.
Thanks for giving voice to a positive concept of being busy. Being active and engaged isn’t the problem. Investing too much time in things that you don’t like or care about is.