Busyness has become a badge of honor and it’s foolish

Being too busy doesn’t translate into success

Joanne Leider
Director of Programming

July 26th, 2018

I’m busy. So busy. Crazy busy. Working non-stop.

It’s a common response to a variety of questions. How’s your summer going? How have you been? What’s going on? How are the kids?

We have ourselves talked into our own busyness and rush through our days trying to do ten things at once while collecting verbal Busy Badges for ourselves, showing them off to everyone we see. Think about it. If someone asks how life is, responding with “it’s very relaxed” or “it has been quite slow lately” can feel like you’re underselling yourself. If you’re always doing something, you’re working towards success right? I’d say no.

Busyness used to be a virtue back in the old days before cell phones and information overload appeared in our palms and began to fill every single idle void. Now it’s become a joy-sucking, and frankly unhealthy habit we all need to get real about.

Being “busy” doesn’t always promote being productive.

A matter of fact, busyness often impairs our ability to perform tasks with accuracy and finesse. When we talk ourselves into busyness, we tend to throw in rushing and multitasking as well, which leads to mistakes, overlooks, injuries and forgetfulness.

Our busyness helps us hide our own time waste, not just from others but from ourselves.

Let’s face it. The world has become extremely distracting. It’s way too easy to get sucked into the abyss of binging and scrolling. When we are at work, how often are we working on something, see an Instagram notification pop up, and then fifteen minutes later realize we’ve been on our phones scrolling away? A declaration of busyness can subconsciously help us deny our own reality: that on any given day we all waste a lot of time that could be spent doing more meaningful things. This constant “do do do, go go go” mindset also hurts us when we’re supposed to be taking a break. Why can’t we stand in line at the grocery store without looking at our phones? Why can’t we feel comfortable sitting at home doing nothing on a Saturday? It’s because in today’s day and age when we don’t feel busy, we feel wrong.

Busyness is the scapegoat of procrastination.

“Sorry! I was just too busy.” Often the truth of why we aren’t getting things done is we are prioritizing the many small/easy tasks over the hard ones, which truly holds us back from succeeding. We put off what is less-glamorous and not as fun, and then use how busy we are as a handy excuse.

So, how does one fix this? Her are a couple simple tips:

1. Stop saying the word “busy” or swamped” or even “a lot on my plate.” Try to use the word “prioritizing” instead. When you use prioritizing over busy, it signifies that what you’re doing is what you believe is most important right now. When asked how it’s going try, “I’m getting things done one by one.”, “I’m prioritizing some really important things right now”, or “Life is good.”

2. Slow down. Quit rushing. Take your time and arrive in a calm state of mind instead of a frazzled mess. How many times do we rush through the airport even though we have two hours until our flight boards? Our brains have become conditioned to hurry and rush, causing us to feel habitually urgent and impatient whenever we travel from point A to point B. Remind yourself to slow down.

3. Do one thing at a time. And this means everything. From brushing your teeth to reading emails to watching TV. You’ll enjoy it more, make fewer mistakes and get more done.

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