Damon Brown’s post, “3 Terrible Reasons Why You Are Addicted to Busyness,” stopped me dead in my tracks. Who me–addicted to “busyness?”
He explained why busyness feels like you cannot stop:
Fulfils the ego – busyness becomes an acute measurement of entrepreneurial worth
Fulfills guilt – not taking a break, especially during crucial periods and fearing vacations
Fulfills the silence – to be still feels scary and can result in feeling anxiously bored
Things weren’t always this way. As a youngster, I recall sitting on the bank of our backyard creek for hours, swirling the water with a stick and throwing rocks to make ripples. I was comfortable with the peace and quiet. The second time was in my early twenties. As a young mother, I spent hours watching my newborn daughter sleep. No place to go. Nothing to do. I stayed in the moment and enjoyed the miracle of her birth. The dishes and housecleaning could wait.
When and how did I evolve into a person who is busy most of her waking hours? I concluded that as personal and professional responsibilities piled up around me, I said “yes” often. Relentless real-life demands pulled me in every direction: A co-worker wants the status report by tomorrow; create and deliver a keynote for a fundraising event; squeeze in a workout; take Mom to the doctor; and cram in just one more load of laundry immediately after declaring I am headed straight to bed.
Busyness slowly crept into my life, and settled in like an unwanted house guest.
No one is impressed with exhaustion, over-scheduling, and busyness. My long-time friends and loving family members are the ones who helped me understand the destructiveness of busyness. My forthcoming book, Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? further explains how they taught me the value of time. Here is some of their sage advice:
When I over-schedule, they tell me:
“You are running yourself ragged for nothing. You will never get it all done.”
When I waste other people’s time, they tell me:
“Soon enough you will alienate them.”
When I feed my phone distraction, they tell me:
“You will never get those hours back playing card games and checking email.”
When I move through time mindlessly, they tell me:
“Having no set plans means someone else eventually decides for you.”
When I resist delegating tasks and responsibilities, they tell me:
“Your way is not always best. You do not have all the answers.”
When I multi-task, they tell me:
“You are not doing any task well.”
Now I know the importance of savoring the present moment; to be unbalanced comes at a hefty price. From now on, I choose what I do with my time carefully. Life is short.