Busy Body

If you want to get something done, ask a busy person.

This old gem has been around forever and while it may be true it can come at a cost. Be careful about putting one more thing on your plate.

What makes us be so busy?

Sometimes we injudiciously add things to our schedules to the point where balance begins to give way. What is balance? Keeping yourself fit for life. Physically and socially. Diet, exercise, sleep, hydration. Friends, family, loved ones. Downtime.

What compels us to fill our schedules up to the point where we lose that valuable – indeed, essential – balance?

Why We Don’t

  • Neediness – Some of are just insecure. We see being over-tasked and under-resourced as the sign of a solid contributor, that “go-to” person we always wanted to be. The missing link the team can’t do without. Often in social, religious and civic groups you see the same one or two bodies raising their hands (and their voices) to get involved in everything. Typically, over time, they produce less and less as they wear down and finally burn out. Why the rush to be involved? We just have to be needed. Even if doing so isn’t really good for us
  • Addiction – We’re addicted to the rush of being busy. Smart phones buzzing, double-booking, working on the train or simply squeezing in one last mail before we leave for the night the taste of busyness-induced adrenalin is a legal high. Yet the body only wants to use adrenalin in short bursts at particular moments: it doesn’t want to mainline it. Like any addict over time we need more and more stimuli to keep us going, and, like any addict, the end is never pretty. Wean yourself now from this need to be buzzed and buzzing: there is no methadone for busyness
  • Fear – Perhaps the biggest driver of an unhealthily busy schedule though is fear. Fear that we are missing out if we say no. Letting someone down if we pass on a task. Letting someone else get a leg up if we don’t jump in first. The fear of losing out on something – unknown as it might be – if we don’t add one more log to the fire. People say fear is a great motivator: its not. Its a physiological response to threat. Until we learn to conquer fear – i.e., that passing up on a task, phone call, meeting, etc, won’t hurt us but will actually help – we’ll never be as strong as we might and put fear in its rightful place

A busy life can be a bit of a dance but its not ballet: we don’t have to stand en pointe to get every last thing done.

While its easy to pontificate about “slowing down,” and  “smell the roses” how about something more useful? Why not examine the root drivers of of your own busyness and ask if some of these items here are affecting your life. Is your busyness under control?

If you don’t like what you find make the tough adjustments now to turn busyness into a tool and not a calling. Like an adult.

Not a busy body.


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