The Dangers of Being Busy
“I’m good, thanks. Really busy though. You?”
“Yeah, me too. I barely have time to breathe,”
It’s a common conversation. We’re usually busy after all. We have stuff going on, or we’re working long hours again - stuck working weekends to catch up, missing out on other things.
It does, however, beg a simple question.
When did ‘being busy’ become a badge of honour?
We tend to feel good about ourselves when we’re busy, so much so that we tie everything we’re doing to our self-worth. But does being busy make us more worthy or valuable? Does it make our current task more worthwhile, if we’re snowed under?
Thing is, I suspect we’re being pulled in two different directions. On the one hand, we consider being ‘busy’ to be the ideal state of existence. Or at least, the one we need to be in the most.
On the other hand, we’re pushing to maintain our ‘work-life balance’, where we’re spending time pursuing restfulness, and making memories with our families.
And I’m not entirely sure they’re compatible things.
There’s been many times in my life where I’ve been busy and felt good about it, but the amount of work to be done never seemed to diminish.
The ‘to-do’ list never ending.
Of course, I felt good about it, because when I was busy, I felt inspired to do great things.
And I did great things.
The issue was with busyness being my badge of honour, I ended up seeking my validation from external sources. My self worth was entirely reliant on my ability to do things, as opposed to being something.
Things can get pretty bad pretty quickly if you find yourself in this situation and your ability to do things becomes impeded.
So, what do you do when you find yourself in Busyland?
It’s not a sustainable place to live, after all. Sure, it’s nice to be busy for a while, but if there’s no time to rest, then things can fall apart pretty quickly.
The first thing to do is stop and take a moment.
Assess what’s going on in your life right now.
Are you happy with the balance in your life between all of the aspects going on?
If you’re not, you need to:
1 - Work out your priorities in life
What are the big rocks in your life? The non-negotiables (or the things you’d like to make as non-negotiable if they haven’t been).
These could be things like your family, your career, your physical and your mental health. You’ll need to decide what you’re going to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to maintain your priorities and keep them in order.
This might look like actively planning to spend time doing fun things with your family, and putting aside time for rest and holidays.
For your business, you’ll want to work out when and how you’ll launch programs, employee retreats, or quarterly themes for your clinic.
After that, have a look at your daily maintenance requirements, like seeing clients or writing blog posts or keeping your tax papers in order.
2 - Work out what you can outsource
Time is our most precious commodity. Are there ways you can streamline tasks you have to get done? If you have to spend an hour cleaning each week, instead of with your family, then perhaps it’s worth looking at ways to outsource what needs to be done to free up that time.
It’s important to see outsourcing simpler tasks as an investment in yourself and a commitment to maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
After all, life always gets filled up with what you focus on. So, focus on the right things.
3 - Work out when you can rest, and do so
There’s no point getting to your goal if you burn yourself out in the process.
If you want to have the energy to provide care and support for your family and clients, you’re going to need to find it from somewhere.
So when you start to start to get stressed and busy again, stop and check your list of priorities. Is caring for yourself still on there?
If you’re forgetting to rest in the pursuit of busyness, deliberately take some time out.
Do something that boosts your own energy, then get back into things.
It’s how you maintain self care over a long period of time, stay compassionate, and stay functional.
Remember, chill out when you need to!
What did you do for yourself this week?