Conventional wisdom says that busyness is necessary in order to thrive in today’s world, but sometimes things get out of control. There are times when we are too busy, and it causes us to suffer in many aspects of our life.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The first step in figuring out how to stop being busy all the time is examining why.
The following 17 signs will help you get started on examining the “why” so that you can take action steps to prevent busyness from overtaking your life.
17 Signs You’re Too Busy (And How to Stop Being Busy)
1. You Hardly See Your Family
Can’t remember the last time you had dinner with the family or got to see the kids? You are probably a victim of 12 or 14-hour workdays. This kind of schedule may be unavoidable over the short-term but can have devastating effects on family life over the long-term. If you are hardly seeing your family this is a sure sign that you are too busy.
Make Time For Your Family
2. You’ve Lost a Sense of Purpose
Are you loving your work or simply going through the motions in order to collect a paycheck? Are you starting to compromise on your values by taking shortcuts? You may have lost your sense of purpose due to being busy all the time. If you find that you are losing purpose in what you do, take action.
Find Your Meaning in Life
3. You Constantly Try to Meet Others’ Expectations
Do you check your email more times than you care to admit? Are you constantly on the phone with your boss or with customers? Are you growing resentful of these people? This is a sure sign that your busyness is preventing you from creating boundaries in your life.
Prioritize Your Needs
4. You Aren’t Present
Are you always thinking about the next thing on your checklist? Are you often staring at your mobile device screen when in the presence of others? Do you find your mind wandering often, even during intimate moments? If so, always being too busy may be robbing you of your ability to be present with those you love.
A recent study found that mindfulness meditation can help free up cognitive resources so that you can retain focus on activities. Mindfulness is simply the ability to become aware of the present moment. So, try mindfulness meditation.
You can also check out How to Focus: The Ultimate Guide.
5. You’re Exhausted
You feel like you are completely burnt out and deflated. You feel like it takes an inordinate amount of energy to do simple tasks. Small setbacks or irritations begin to trigger extreme feelings of frustration and distress.
Moreover, you’re consistently waking up tired even when you get a full eight hours of sleep. You may be burning up large amounts of physical and emotional energy by always being “on.” This may also be due to excessive worry about everything on your plate.
Rest Your Mind and Body
6. You Feel Like You Are Failing in Multiple Areas of Life
Do you find yourself falling behind on your finances, wavering on your commitment to exercise, or feel like a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none? Do you find yourself saying, “I am too busy”? These are clear signs that you’ve probably taken on too many projects and keeping yourself too busy. If these signs sound familiar to you, then take steps to checkin on aspects of your life that are keeping you too busy all the time.
Regain Balance in Life
7. You Never Take Vacations
You’ve maxed out your available vacation time, and you dread the thought of taking any time off because you fear you will fall behind, waste precious time, or be bored out of your mind. Your busyness habit has trained you to place your sense of self-worth in doing rather than simply being.
Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. Science says that even planning a vacation 8 weeks before the trip boosts happiness.
Take Regular Breaks
8. You Can’t Focus For More Than 10 Minutes
For the chronically busy person, multitasking may become the norm. You are constantly juggling anxiously between tasks that need to get done. You’re probably actively running at least 3-5 tabs on your browser this minute. In fact, I’m guessing you’ve toggled back and forth a few times prior to reaching this point in the article.
Focus with a Strategy
9. You Are Unhappy and Don’t Know Why
Sometimes we fall into the trap of making ourselves too busy to avoid life’s difficulties. Avoiding these more negative emotions is a natural response. The trouble starts when we are persistently avoidant, which is linked to increased anxiety. It often happens subconsciously, so by the time we notice how we’re feeling, we don’t know what’s troubling us.
10. You Are Paralyzed When Making Decisions
At its worst, even the act of going to the grocery store to pick up a tube of toothpaste can be extremely anxiety-producing. You may find the activity so paralyzing that you leave the store without purchasing anything.
Sometimes we fall into the busy trap of the desire to keep all options open. In other words, we want it all. In reality, the options are limitless while we are limited. This incongruence is the source of our paralysis in decision-making.
Start Making Decisions
11. You Don’t Ask for Help
Have you ever heard the expression, “Want something done? Find a busy person?” You may be the busy person that others perceive as competent and able to help them with their problems. This may be one reason why you struggle to ask for help when you need it. Accepting this role can lead to taking on more than you would like.
Give yourself permission to ask for help when you need it. This may require a drastic change in your mindset – reluctance to seek help is common. Give someone the gift of being able to help you.
Ask For Help
12. Stop Eating in Tandem With Other Tasks
Do you find yourself constantly using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to lighten the load.
It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.
13. You Don’t Remember What You Had for Breakfast
You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but you ignore it because it takes up too much valuable time. You tell yourself “I’m too busy” to grab that essential fuel your body and mind need in the morning. When you find time to eat, chances are its unhealthy fast food. You are also likely to eat it on the run.
Would you neglect to go to the gas station to fill up your empty car because you thought it was a waste of time? Think of your own body in a similar way. Take time to fuel up in the morning.
Eat Your Breakfast
14. Your Workspace is Messy
How clear and organized is your workspace? Is it difficult to easily locate all your stuff? Is there clutter present? If your workspace is a mess and causing you stress, you are likely overextending yourself.
Get Your Workspace Organized
15. You Double-Book or Miss Appointments
Do you find yourself double-booking or missing meetings and appointments? Is this something that consistently happens in your life? If this sounds like you, this is a sure sign that you need to reduce your load. You’re probably saying yes to new commitments too quickly and too often, which is keeping you too busy in general.
16. You Dread Getting Up in the Morning
Do you find that your days are so crammed full that you literally dread them even before starting them? This is a sign that you’re too busy. You simply lose motivation to catch up with all the work you have to do every day. You’re burned out!
A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement.
17. You’re Lonely
Do you find yourself feeling lonely in a busy period of your life? You may not be making time to reach out to friends. You might also be turning down requests to get together. Instead, you’re working on finishing whatever property is occupying your social schedule.
Reach out to a close friend today, even one you have not connected with for a while. Work is important, but more projects that you have on your plate will be there when you’re done taking the time to socialize. You owe it to yourself to take a break, reconnect, and find your community.
Reach Out to Others
If you’ve identified with five or more points on this list, stop and take some time to slow down to regain your balance. Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to spend it all on keeping busy while missing the beauty of each moment you are placed in. Take a moment to look around and feel grateful for where you are and how you feel today.
Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com
|||^||Psychological Reports: Mindfulness Meditation Improves Visual Short-Term Memory|
|||^||Mindful: What is Mindfulness?|
|||^||Alina Health:Importance of taking a vacation|
|||^||Computation Psychiatry: Anxiety, avoidance, and sequential evaluation|
|||^||Early Intervention in Psychiatry: Help‐seeking beliefs for mental disorders among medical and nursing students|