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154 key ways to tell if you are too busy

| by Paul Greasley

OK, so I am exaggerating the point here. But let me ask you a question. What did you say the last time someone asked you, “How are you doing?” The standard answer to that question has become “really busy” or “too busy.” Being too busy is a symptom of something else going on in your life. It should be a recognition of something deeper.

Let me get to the point here. Being busy is a self-imposed condition. Very often we choose to be busy rather than something else.

Here are 4 key ways to tell if you are too busy:

1. You look at being busy as a status symbol.

Being too busy is your way of saying to everyone around you that what you do is important and as a result you are also important. You imagine that your contribution to the world is so significant that you can’t possibly not be very busy all the time. Pride. Ouch!

2. You have noticed that the quality of your relationships is deteriorating.

Not giving someone your complete attention fails to build strong relationships. Impatience, frustration, and attempting to control every situation is a sure sign of being too busy. Even the people you love suffer from your lack of attention to their real needs.

3. You can’t tell the difference between “good busy” and “bad busy”.

“Good busy” feels like you are functioning in your sweet spot and there is a sense of alignment and productivity. “Bad busy” feels like you are overwhelmed with conflicting priorities and you add more things to your to-do list than you cross off. Confusing the 2 has a way of draining your energy.

4. You eat your meals while texting or making phone calls.

An overly committed schedule is stifling and hard on your body. Cramming more and more activity into the same time period is a sure sign that you have lost a sense of priority and perspective. Little interruptions become irritating. There is no slack time.

Next steps

OK, if you have read this far you may be looking for some ways to make some sense of your overly busy schedule. May I encourage you to:

1. Take ownership of your God-given life.

No one is going to unclutter your life for you. Ephesians 5:15 encourages us to “Be very careful how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” This is not a license to be busy but rather an encouragement to be creative.

2. Realize that you can’t do it all.

Perhaps there is something that you feel very responsible for but no one else considers it such a high priority. Stop doing it and using up your limited resources. If no one else picks up the task and life goes on, then you have just moved toward being less busy.

3. Purposely unbalance your life for different seasons.

You will always struggle to find a balance that lasts for more than a few days or weeks. Rather than frustrate yourself, aim at purposely unbalancing your life in different areas for specific periods of time in order to achieve something really meaningful. Intentionally work hard for a season but then take that vacation and enjoy it.

Now what?

Maybe being overly busy is like a drug that we indulge in so that we won’t have to face the fact that a lot of what we do really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I found it very difficult to write this article and I trust you found it equally difficult to read to the end. But I’m glad I wrote it and I’m glad you read it.

Paul Greasley

Paul E. Greasley holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and is an experienced servant leader, a retired aerospace engineering manager, a big rig driver, an active community volunteer, an adjunct professor and an entrepreneurial business owner.

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