Is There a Prize for Being the Busiest Person You Know?

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Busy, busy, busy. We love to be busy. Even more than that, we love to tell others how busy we are. We pride ourselves on being busy. Somehow, if we’re not busy, we’re not enough.

It’s a difficult cycle and mindset to break. We live on deadlines, adrenaline and caffeine.

Too often, we feel like something is wrong if we don’t have a lot to do. Aren’t we all guilty of it?

We work at our jobs tirelessly while caring for our families. We run our kids from activity to activity. Often a last priority, we try to carve out some social time for ourselves. On top of that, we may also volunteer.

All of these things are important.

Yet, so much of what we do seems like thankless tasks. There’s cleaning house, laundry, errands and meal prep. But we have to do them all, and so we keep on doing them.

Yet, we often layer more and more things on top of our otherwise very busy lives.

It’s like that quote, If you want something done, give it to a busy person. And the more you do, the more you can do.

Relax? We can’t do that. There is much too much to do.

Having a busy mindset

Lately, it almost seems if we aren’t busy enough, something is wrong. Our lives are “less than” in some way. If we aren’t running our kids to after school activities and sports all over town, we aren’t doing enough.

We work and we volunteer in our community and at school, and we care for our kids and we just keep on going.

Sure, we don’t have a choice in a lot of things we do. But do we need to purposely take on new things? Why do we add more to our plate?

Can we just learn to say no?

We’re uncomfortable when we aren’t busy

Some of my very favorite people have gotten puppies (!) just when it seemed they were at a good place in their lives. Their kids were in school full time, and these once exhausted moms were finally seeming relaxed. Boom! They get a little pup… It’s almost like they didn’t know what to do with their extra time.

Maybe they felt like something was wrong if they weren’t running here and there.

It makes sense… really.

It’s very difficult to take an hour for yourself to read a book or watch a show you want to watch on Hulu or Netflix.

We do these things rarely, after Every Other Single Thing has been done. Which means at 9:30pm at night, you’re finally able to relax and are then too tired to enjoy it.

being busy all the time
It’s really hard to stop being busy.
Photo credit: Susanne Nilsson

So even when we might have a tiny bit of downtime, we fill it.

We overextend ourselves. We sign up to bake something for the bake sale, or we offer to take on a project at work.

Making time for ourselves

It’s difficult to schedule time for ourselves, even if it’s for an overdue haircut or to exercise.

We tend to cut things for ourselves first. Yet, that’s when we need it most.

Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

It’s just like when the airlines instructs us to put on our own oxygen mask in the event of an emergency before putting them on our kids.

But we run here and there. Busyness becomes an addiction.

Often it’s impossible to sit still. Or to focus on just one thing on the computer instead of opening up browser after browser. Our minds race. There’s always something to do and something taking up our mental energy.

While our husbands can spend a Saturday surfing online, we are fluttering around doing housework and errands and tackling our huge to do lists. And even when we finish 10 things on that list, it wouldn’t feel like it was enough.

Sometimes we take out our stress on our kids by nagging them.

It’s difficult not to be busy these days. We have instant answers online. Many families have more than one car. Opportunities abound and await.┬áIt’s a vicious cycle.

Posting about being busy

Another way being busy feeds on itself is we post about it.

We get to tell everyone in Facebookland about the four soccer games, two dance recitals and three baseball games we went to that weekend.

Sure, I do it do. I might phrase it up in a more relevant context by commenting with something like: “No, my son can’t go because he has a baseball tournament that weekend.”

Or “Darn, why did the teacher assign that at-home project now? (My great child) already has six commitments this week. We don’t need a project too.”

Getting attention from being busy

We are all busy. Many of us can’t help but start to establish our identities based on how busy we are and how involved in activities our kids are.

Yet, there’s no glory in winning the I’m the Busiest award.

 

 

 

 

 

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