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Are You Addicted to Being Busy? Why the To Do List Never Seems to End

January 04, 2018

It’s Monday morning and you’re already overwhelmed with your massive to-do list.

You’re not even sure where to begin or how you will finish any of it.

Yet, you keep adding to your list and committing to new projects.

You’re tired and stressed, but refuse to slow down. Does this sound like you?

Being addicted to being busy is a real problem in the new millennium. We have access to work, education, the news, and social media 24-7.

Many people work multiple jobs, are entrepreneurs, or are professional “hobby collectors.” A lot of us put multitasking on the top of our skill set.

The truth is I can hardly have lunch without finding something I feel I need to do for work or my family. Today, most people I know are in the same boat.

Take a Moment to Slow Down

No matter how busy you are, try to slow down at least once a day and check in with how you’re feeling and what you’re really accomplishing.

If you’re doing well with your busy schedule, you don’t necessarily need to change anything.

However, if you’re constantly tired or stressed, have aches and pains from overwork, or are feeling resentful about everything you “need” to do, you probably need a break and not a new addition to your to-do list.

Taking a deeper look into why you “need” to stay busy can provide valuable insight.

Ask Yourself Why You Need to Stay Busy?

What’s really motivating you to stay busy? For most people, it’s finances.

Making enough money to get ahead or out of the red is the number one motivator for people today.

If this sounds like you, developing a plan to get on your feet financially and out of debt is a good starting point to making your life more manageable.

If you’re staying busy just for the sake of staying busy, you might ask yourself if you’re avoiding slowing down for any special reason.

Some people stay busy because they can’t say no, are in constant competition with others, or don’t know how to get out of commitments that are too demanding.

Other people stay busy to avoid an energy crash. Being busy keeps adrenaline and other stress hormones flowing.

Many of us are so accustomed to these chemicals rushing through our bodies; we fear we won’t be able function without them. Yet, this can be dangerous for health.

Being too busy can set the stage for the Stress-Hormone Cascade, which can increase your risk for burnout, frequent colds and flu, even high blood pressure or heart disease later in life.

Ways to Cut Out an Addiction to “Busy”

Prepare For A Crash.

If you’ve been on a crazy schedule for a long time, slowing down can lead to an energy crash.

However, you can prepare, make the best out of your situation, and come out healthier and more productive.

A nutritious diet is imperative to recovery from burnout or an energy crash. Try to have some healthy meals like soups or stews prepared ahead of time.

Consider adaptogen herbs like American ginseng, astragalus, and shisandra to help your adrenals cope with the change and rebuild your resistance to stress.

Become Comfortable With Peace.

If you’ve lived in chaos for a long time, you may need to learn how to be peaceful again. It can take some time to become comfortable even sitting still.

Strive for a few minutes of quiet time every day. Work up to 20 minutes of simple reflection or journaling each day.

Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to calm racing thoughts, get centered, and get over an addiction to busy.

Learn Boundaries.

If you’re struggling to cut down on commitments, you may need to work on your boundaries with other people.

Learning to say no is really important. The world will not fall apart because you take a day off.

Other people at work or at home can pitch in when you need help and support. They may just be waiting for you to ask them.

Work Smarter.

Working longer and taking on more projects is not the answer to success. Learn to work smarter.

Try to focus on your hardest and most important tasks first. Put smaller issues on the back burner when you can. Focus on one task at a time.

You may find you do a better job and get more rewards in the process. Get support in handling your finances if money troubles have put your schedule into overdrive.

Give Yourself a Break

Being busy is a good way to stay motivated and engaged in your life. However, being too busy can lead to stress reactions and put you at risk for health problems, burnout, or an energy crash.

Take time for quality self-care in your life. Try a 5 minute meditation, hot bath, or simple quiet time every day.

You may find you are happier, healthier, and more productive without all the “busy.”

 

References:

Martinuzzi, B. (2016) The true danger of being too busy. Retrieved from
https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/the-true-danger-of-being-too-busy/
Mathews, B. (2016) The danger of being too busy and how to restore your health and sanity. Retrieved from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/the-danger-of-being-too-busy-how-to-restore-your-health-and-sanity/