11 April 2012


Are you too busy?  Have you ever sat down and considered just what it means to be too busy?  If you haven't, then there's a good chance that you are too busy, that your activities and work in your life are causing you to neglect other areas of who you are that are--or that should be--extremely important to you.

Many people buy into the notion that the best way for us to live our lives is to be as busy as possible, to squeeze in as many activities and projects as we possibly can squeeze into what we consider to be our schedules.  We stop saying "no" to anything, and we stop doing things that we consider to be "fun"--after all, if it's just recreation then we aren't really accomplishing anything, are we?

Perhaps this is a desire to "stockpile" accomplishments.  Perhaps it's a holdover of our desire to pad our resumes by accumulating as much experience as possible in as many different fields as possible.  No matter what the origins of this tendency, though, the simple fact is that it tends to be a pretty destructive habit to be in.

I know people who are so busy that they never have time to spend with their friends.  When someone asks them to get together for a cup of coffee, for example, they have to check their appointment book--just to spend an hour with a friend!  In cases of emergency, they're often at a loss as to what to do, for their time is so filled with tasks that they can't decide which tasks can be let go and which ones need to be followed through on.

We also tend to be a culture that values "multi-tasking," or taking on several jobs at once in an effort to get as much done as we possibly can.  This tendency keeps us even busier than we would be if we took on one task at a time, and it also keeps us from putting our full attention on any one task.  The end result is that the tasks we take on simultaneously never receive our undivided attention, and the quality of the finished tasks never can equal the quality of a finished task on which we focus our attention.

And what do people get for being over-busy?  There are many results, such as ulcers, indigestion, lack of exercise, lack of time with friends and family, and many medical problems related with stress and the lack of relaxation, like skin problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

Being busy--or over-busy--is usually a question of decisions.  We decide which tasks we'll take on and which deadlines we accept.  Sometimes our motivation seems so strong that we feel pushed into a decision, such as the possibility of losing a job, but the bottom line is that what we do and when we do it is still our decision.  Perhaps removing ourselves from a job that takes too much from us is the better decision for us in the long run, and perhaps setting some limits by saying no to someone can be an extremely important action.

Busyness is something that keeps us away from quiet time, from meditation, from friends and family, from reading, from relaxation.  And these are the things that help us to re-create ourselves, to rejuvenate ourselves, and to grow and develop as human beings.  Making the decision to step away from being busy can help us in many different ways, some of which are completely unimaginable to us while we're still busy, while we're still so scattered in our thoughts that we can't focus on anything else but the immediate task at hand.  We owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves, and being perpetually busy is not healthy or wise for the vast majority of us.

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