Consider this scenario — you’ve just met a friend you haven’t seen for a while and they ask you how things are with you. Based on your current situation, how will you respond? Will you say you’ve been very busy lately?
If that’s the case, then you’re not alone. In our fast-paced world, the majority of people are overstretched, overcommitted and overwhelmed with all the things they have going on in their lives. It has even reached the point where we are constantly exhausted.
The scary thing is that being exhausted is almost like a status symbol. If we’re not busy or overwhelmed, then we must not be doing anything important.
Unfortunately that behaviour is not good for us long-term.
I know this too well and it is something I still struggle with. The desire to continue working even though I know I need to slow down or have a break often has resulted in some rather unfortunates experiences.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: Why do we keep saying yes to new requests or demands when we are already overworked and overwhelmed with the things we have going on? It is because:
- We’re not comfortable saying no to others? This will help.
- We’re lazy or unmotivated? This will help.
- We don’t know how to reduce our workload. This will help.
- We don’t know how to delegate more effectively. This will help.
- We don’t know how to find time for our important priorities. This will help.
Always being busy and constantly feeling stressed or overwhelmed is not a good state to be in. Here are five reasons why being busy may not be working for us, which can cause us significant health challenges and also affect other areas of our life in a detrimental way.
- You’re stretched too thin. Although you have the best of intentions and want to do what’s expected of you, the reality is you’re actually not being productive. Sometimes it is better to do only a few things really well than do many things averagely or even poorly.
- You’ve bought into the idea that you can have it all. There are more opportunities now than we’ve ever had in human history and this idea that we can have it all is one that is often sold to us. However the more we try to do in order to “have it all,” the more we get ourselves stressed and overworked. With the time we have available to us, there is only so much we can do. We need to be clear on what our priorities are in life and what we want to “have” in life.
- You wish your life could be a lot simpler. Oftentimes when we are overworked, we start thinking of ways we can make things simpler or easier. The more we take on, the higher the chances that something is going to break eventually. It can be broken health, broken relationships or broken families. It really comes down to choosing to have a simpler life. That’s the starting point.
- You’re not making progress towards what matters most to you. The busyness of life can easily take us away from the things that are important to us like making a contribution to our community, mentoring others or packaging our knowledge and experience into products that can serve others. Hence we need to be really intentional about the things we say yes to and align them to our highest value work.
- You don’t know how to eliminate things from your life. New requests or demands will almost always be more than our ability to do them all. The thing we want to get used to is, living with less. If you evaluate everything you do, own or want to do, the truth is you probably don’t need most of those things. The simpler we can make our lives, the happier we will be. However, this is not something that will come easily. It will require discipline and commitment.
Being busy does not have to be a status symbol or a badge of honour anymore. Reflect back on your life — are the things you are doing or the way you have designed your life working for you? If it isn’t, then it’s time to re-evaluate and try something different. Isn’t your life worth it?
Question: What’s been some of the things you have experienced as a result of being busy constantly?
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