“Sorry, I can’t do that because I’m too busy.”
“I don’t have time to go to the gym.”
“Who has time to cook dinner? That’s a joke!”
Surely you’ve heard people saying these types of things – or you’ve said them yourself at one point in your life. Sadly, the 21st century is full of people who are too busy to do much of anything except be really busy all the time.
However, you may wonder how some people are able to manage to do the things the rest of us never have time for. How do some people work full time and still have time work out? or cook healthy, homemade meals? or spend relaxing down-time with their kids?
Clearly these people know a thing or two about being busy that the rest of us don’t know. To help you out with this, what follows is a complete guide for people who are way too busy. Check it out and see if some of it rings a bell in your life.
Why We Love Being Busy
• It makes us feel important. Too busy to hang out with old friends? That can elevate you in your own mind. You are so important, friends just have to come second, after whatever it is that you’re too busy doing. You are indispensable and the world just can’t manage without you.
• It make us feel powerful. As you race around being the busiest person on earth, you feel powerful. It’s like you’re a fire engine, zipping around the city putting out fires! Lots of small successes feel like they add up to invincible power.
• It makes us look productive. Worried you’re not appearing to do enough? Is your boss on your back about getting things done? Does your partner indicate that he or she feels you’re not doing your share of the housework or errands to keep your house going? Then busy yourself! Show them you are working so hard that you just don’t have time to do those difficult or unpleasant things they want you to be doing. It’s like you’re exchanging “busywork” for the things that really need attention.
• It gives you an excuse. When you’re so terribly busy, you have the perfect excuse for not doing things you’d like to avoid. For example, if you’re incredibly over-scheduled then you just don’t have time to exercise. It’s a nice fat excuse for avoiding something you know down deep you should be doing. Or consider eating healthy: you’re too busy to cook your own food so you justify eating out all the time. This is an excuse for not only eating whatever you like and whenever you like, but also for spending too much money on restaurants.
What’s Behind Being Busy
Like so many things we do in life that are troubling, there’s more than meets the eye. We all choose our own behavior, and sometimes those choices are misguided.
Why? Because we have some sort of underlying issues that need attention. When ignored, these issues seep out into other areas of our lives and really mess things up.
Here are some common psychological reasons why people become “too busy” in life:
• Desire for Control. By trying to respond to every single stimulus you encounter, you feel as if you’re controlling everything. However, you’re not.
• Avoidance of real problems. By busying yourself with mundane tasks and too many engagements, you can’t focus on real issues you’re trying to avoid. These include health problems, relationship problems, and financial woes. This is very unhealthy because these problems won’t stay buried for long.
• Depression. Being constantly busy can take your mind off an underlying problem of depression. It might be your long-term strategy for coping with depression, but it will wear you out in the end.
• Lack of Direction. If you suffer from lack of inner development and you’re not sure what you want out of life, one way to cover that is to become really busy all the time. It makes you feel as if you’re headed somewhere, pursuing something, actually taking your life somewhere instead of straight to the nuthouse because you’re too busy to think straight!
• Camouflaging emptiness. Being really busy can be your way of reassuring yourself that you matter, that your life is not empty. A busy life is a meaningful life, your mind seems to think. Of course it’s wrong, though!
How Much of Your Overly Busy Life is Self-Imposed?
Ok, there are some people in this unfortunate world who really are too busy but cannot do much about it. These are the people who:
• …work 4 part-time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet
• …pull all nighters to finish school
• …work long hours to accomplish a concrete goal at work…an intern fulfilling a residency requirement in the emergency room, for example. A lawyer prepping for a big trial, for example.
• …have multiple kids and very little time for themselves
Unless you can count yourself as one of those types of people who really are too busy, then I have some news for you:
your over-stretched schedule is all your own doing!
Are you dead on your feet? How do you answer people when they ask you, “how are you?”…do you say “busy!” or do you say “exhausted”? The people on the True Busy list above will probably not say they’re busy…they’ll say they’re exhausted.
Life doesn’t have to be a constant whirl of activities, performed like duties and responding to everything. There is just too much stimulus in the world. Nobody is capable processing it all. That’s why we have to prioritize, be choosy about what’s important to us.
What to Do
Scan the list of reasons above (the one about what’s behind being busy). Think about these ideas and see if you can’t recognize yourself in any of them. Does anything strike a chord in your mind? If so, this might be the first step towards emptying out your crazy schedule and finding time for the important things in life.