Are You a Victim of Being Too Busy?

by Paul Johnston
(New Hampshire, USA)

Photo by Alice Popkorn

We're caffiene-dependent and sleep-deprived. We hustle through the day mindlessly fulfilling our obligations — from commuting to work and responding to email chains to feeding kids lunch and carpooling to soccer practice. Have you ever said, "there just aren't enough hours in the day." Are you guilty of lamenting, "I'm just so busy!" Has saying, "it's just been crazy," become habitual for you? If you're constantly telling your family, friends and co-workers about how busy you are, then ask yourself; how does telling other people how busy you are make you feel, and what is being so busy doing for your life?

Addicted to Stress

Indeed, if you're reading this article, then you most likely live a busy life. You're on-the-go and immune to your endless do-to lists. Get a new quote for GEICO car insurance. Shop for LifeLock identity theft protection. Install Lifeshield home security system. Among permanent to-do lists, we feel starved for time — and love it. You may not prefer the stressful, long-hour work days or ongoing chaos of managing a home with kids. But if you constantly feel over-worked, busy and stressed, then you may be getting something out of it.

See if you fall into any of the following three categories that contribute to a busy, stressful lifestyle:

1. Glorification of Busy

Glorifying your busy life, whether to yourself or others, can provide a sense of purpose, fulfillment and self-importance. You feel a sense of pride when you impress people with your hectic, busy schedule. You're ambitious and hard working. You're parent of the year. You may even confuse "not busy" with laziness, apathy or even mediocrity. A busy lifestyle isn't a status symbol and shouldn't measure your worth.

2. Yes Man

Plans and tasks accumulate quickly when you can't say no. And the more you say yes to grabbing a drink and picking up extra hours at the office, the more you're expected to. Eventually, you may be participating in more activities that don't meet your needs and taking on extra responsibilities that are unnecessary. Saying no is not selfishness and doesn't make you a bad family member or friend.

3. Emotional Mask

Sometimes stress is a more tolerable than being mentally idle or alone with your thoughts. For example, if you're recovering from a divorce, you may jam-pack your week with extra work, long workouts and social outings. The more you fill your days with, the less you have to think about heartbreak, disappointment or financial burdens. Creating stress can mask negative emotions; however, it's no healthier than alcohol or painkillers.

Life is for Living, Not Surviving

If you've identified that your busy lifestyle negatively affects your well-being, then you no longer have to be a slave to it. Tell yourself that you deserve time to yourself, and you shouldn't feel guilty or be apologetic about it. Indulging in life isn't laziness. In the words of legendary designer Charles Eames, "take your pleasures seriously." Being busy doesn't equate to success. Saying yes more often doesn't make you more likeable. Suppressing stress doesn't erase your problems. Create time for pleasures. Enjoy time with yourself. It's not a scary thing.

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