Do you often answer the question "How are you?" with "soooo busy" or "things are crazy busy at the moment!"?
1. Lots of perpetually "busy" people are actually just stuck in a people-pleasing spiral.
We've all heard the saying "If you want something done, ask a busy person." And there is truth to that. However, there's a difference between working with purpose and intent and squeezing as much in as possible. Being busy makes people feel important. It feels good to be busy, and there's a connection to feeling accomplished or successful and wanting to share that with others. Everyone wants to be heard and appreciated.
But being addicted to busy can come from wanting the approval of others, and it's exhausting trying to keep up, which can prevent you from doing work you love and being your most efficient and productive self. It's less about actually being busy with a full calendar and more about how a person wants to be perceived.
2. Being busy can also mean you're avoiding the elephant in the room.
"Busy-itis" can also come from not being comfortable or wanting to sit with yourself…alone. Making the time to slow down can actually take a lot of work. Sounds easy to "sit down," but quieting the mind and looking inward to discover that true confidence comes from within and you don't need the approval of others is no easy task! Your work is your own, and you define your own success.
3. Busyness can be an avoidance of real personal responsibility.
You manifest change and the opportunity for you to enjoy every single day instead of running around like crazy, trying to check everything off your to-do list, see your friends and family, and make time for yourself—this doesn't mean taking a workout class to check another thing off your list but truly making time for self-care and rest. There will be a moment when you realize that you're spread too thin and that you chose this busy lifestyle. I've been there—you are just completely exhausted and left feeling drained. I wanted to keep pushing myself and kept coming up with the question, when will it ever be enough?
4. Busy people tend to be more forgetful.
A very common symptom of "busy-itis" is brain fog. Brain fog can be as simple as forgetfulness, confusion, or lack of mental clarity. Sometimes we move so fast throughout the day, we don't remember how we got from point A to point B. High levels of stress hormones can cause brain fog—feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, fear, and frustration. When your mind is fuzzy, you can't retain knowledge as well.
5. Exhaustion is common among busy people.
Another common symptom is exhaustion. This is not the same as feeling tired but total depletion which can be caused by stress. Often times we manage our stress by distracting ourselves, completely ignoring what is actually going on (whether we know it or not).
6. Frequent illness befalls perpetually busy people.
If you are frequently getting sick, this is another sign of stress overload or "busy-itis." Do you feel like you are coming down with a cold more often than your friends? Those who suffer from "busy-itis" especially need to listen to their bodies and not power through the day when they are feeling under the weather. If you don't break the cycle, "busy-itis" can snowball into a long-term health condition such as depression or heart disease. Just remember that the mind and body are intrinsically connected.
Getting over "busy-itis" can be a process but well worth it—there is a chance for you to enjoy every single day to the fullest AND feel proud of your work. If you suffer from busyness, and a need to keep going, going, going, here are three ways you can take care of yourself and start getting your time back.
Create a morning routine.
Enjoy your morning and wake a little earlier to make some extra time for yourself. This can mean journaling, reading, or cooking breakfast. Having a morning breathwork or meditation practice can be extremely beneficial and will prepare to take on the day!
Redefine your to-do list.
Instead of creating a long list, make your to-do list more of an exercise and ask yourself why next to each item. This will help you set your intentions for the day and remind yourself to acknowledge the tasks that you love doing. It's a great idea to do this on Sunday in advance of the week, so you can set yourself up for success. Do only the essential things.
Remove the word "busy" from your vocabulary.
Come up with another response for when people ask, "How are you doing?" Stop telling people how busy you are. Take a moment to confidently share the work you are doing, which will have you build stronger relationships and have deeper connections in the long run!
After many years of "busy-itis" it may be tough to change your thought patterns and automatic responses. The good news is it's totally doable. When we learn to slow down, we begin to truly connect with our work and with others.