• Michelle Carlen

Have You Caught the "Busyness Bug"?

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

I’m SO busy” is often what we hear from people of all ages, races, genders, and socio-economic statuses when asking them how they are. I’ve heard this so frequently over the last few years I’ve developed my own name for it; the “Busyness Bug”.

When you stop and ask someone what they are so busy with, quite simply they can’t give a definitive response. Usually it’s running here and there, parents being a taxi for their kids, running errands like grocery shopping, meeting deadlines at work, sitting in traffic, answering emails, going to health appointments, buying the latest gadgets, scrolling on social media, taking classes, eating, trying to exercise and sometimes sleeping, only to wake up the next day to do it all over again.

Have you caught the busyness bug? If so, how’d you catch it? Being “busy” is contagious. It’s a safe response when someone asks you how your doing, or how's your day? Or, even worse when they don't want to give you their time. “It’s busy or I'm busy”, we say. Being busy can be a good thing if we know it’s being busy with activities that get to an end goal, or things that we find fulfilling. But, too often we stay busy because we don’t want to deal with real issues at hand. It’s easier to just stay busy.

Busyness happens when:

1) We cover up the need to slow down and take stalk in what is important.

2) We want to feel like Superman and Wonder woman and “do it all”.

3) We think that not being busy is a sign of weakness.

How do we get rid of this deadly bug? Ultimately, busyness comes from a lack of knowing our priorities and how to manage them, as well as, setting boundaries to respect our own time and needs. GULP. Yes, this is a hard truth to swallow.

Knowing how to prioritize our endless list of to-dos’ is important. Even more imperative is to get to a list of what we find are our priorities. We must first figure out what our own needs and desires are for the things we spend our time on in our own sphere of experience. I’ve simplified this process through three easy steps.

1) Know your absolute list of “needs”. This includes things like eating, sleeping, exercising, and grooming.

2) Add in your list of “think I have to”. This includes things like completing certain tasks at work, dropping off dry cleaning, and going to the bank.

3) Top your list with “would like to”. This includes everything else that doesn’t involve your physical existence like; taking your kids to soccer practice, getting your nails done, going to the movies, shopping at the mall, spending time on social media, enjoying a hobby, and volunteering at a local charity.

When you breakdown your to-do’s and prioritize in this manner, it become clear how much of what we are doing really falls into the “would like to” category. Allow yourself to NOT take on everything in this area because this is where we become too busy. We think we must do it all. In fact, the opposite is true, cutting one or two of the “would like to” off our priority list will gives us more ability to get done other priorities and leaves room for a feeling of being less stressed and the opportunity to enjoy more of the other activities that are all part of daily life. #professionaldevelopment #timemanagement #priorities #prioritization #personaleffectiveness #motivation

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