We live in a society that praises hard work and productivity, so being busy all the time can make you feel as though you are winning in life and can elevate your sense of social status.
Trying to be at our best all the time creates a feeling of importance and can become addictive. When busyness is glorified and encouraged, you may end up overextending yourself with varied obligations, appointments, commitments, and responsibilities. Busyness may lead to feeling:
If you are unable to complete tasks or uphold the many obligations you have dedicated yourself to, you may end up feeling guilty, or as if you’ve let yourself of others down. If you derive self-worth through being productive and completing tasks, feeling as if you’re falling short can impact your perception of yourself.
How easy is it for you to say no to others demands on your time? Really think about where you can cut back. Ask yourself some questions: What are the things that make you feel so heavy and exhausted even just thinking about doing them? What are the “shoulds” on your list that you’re doing because you think they make you a good person/family member/employee? Another thing to consider is that the most recent obligation added to your pile can often be the first to go.
You might not do this skillfully at first. You have conditioned yourself and – possibly everyone in your life – to expect you to be a super person. There’s going to be pushback and you are going to be uncomfortable, so don’t look for it to necessarily feel good.
Natalie Trice, Career Coach and PR Mentor asks ‘How often has someone asked you how you are, and regardless of what is really going on in your life, you cheerily answer, ‘busy, busy’, which can brush over a multitude of issues that we just don’t want to own up, or even admit to ourselves.
In modern life, being ‘busy’ is almost a badge of honour that gives us status amongst others, and a sense of validation for ourselves, and whether we are busy or not, using it as a status update is an ingrained response that so many of us use.
The reality is, while we might feel the need to trot out this well-versed line for fear of people thinking we are lazy or slacking, being busy, or appearing so, isn’t always good for us, and can actually be detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing.
There is no doubt that lives are busy and pressures are real, but if you are constantly on the go, always saying yes – even if you are at capacity, and on a mission to prove your worth by how many plates you are spinning, they may all come crashing down.
Being busy is one thing, but being productive and efficient, healthy and rested are far more balancing and, in the long term, will serve you much better. When we keep doing the same things over and over, we can forget that there is more to life than how many jobs we have on the go and how many people are counting on us to help them.
You can’ change things overnight, but there are some simple ways you can change your busy default settings, and these include:
Going technology-free can be a great way to turn down those busy vibes, as not only will it free up your time, but it can also help you to stop telling the world just how busy you are. As we scroll through social media we often see family and friends listing their endless activities and achievements and all too often those posts are liked and commented on, further perpetuating the need for more busy updates.
Being honest might feel hard, but rather than saying busy, maybe it’s that you are feeling rushed, overwhelmed, or maybe even bored, can break the cycle. It isn’t a sin not to be jam-packed with work, or to admit things are feeling a bit too much, and it could well be that leads to a new project to fill your time, or someone offering to help you out so you can breathe again.
Taking breaks won’t make you more or less busy, but it can give you perspective. When you have your head down and don’t come up for air, you can become increasingly stressed, taking on even more tasks, and adding to an already overflowing to-do list. Going outside, meeting friends for a coffee, or even putting your ‘out of office’ on one afternoon a week can help ease that busy burden and give you time to look at what is most important, what you can delegate and changes you can make the will allow you to live a life you live, rather than one that keeps your peddling until you reach burnout.’
People addicted to being busy are often bad at relaxing as they may feel anxious and guilty at being unproductive.
If you can relate to these signs of being overbusy, and you are using a packed schedule to avoid issues or emotions, then self-care is important.
When you notice you aren’t busy and feel worried, know that filling your schedule up will only put off the inevitable. Pause, take a breath and let the emotion be.
While being busy may positively impact your self-esteem, if you are so busy that you are unable to practice self-care, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy your free time, being overbooked can actually have a harmful effect on your overall well-being.
Even though it may feel challenging to shift your priorities, disconnecting from work or unnecessary obligations and deliberately resting and taking time for yourself can significantly boost your quality of life. It is a positive step for your own physical and mental health.
Career Coach and PR Mentor