The Busy Syndrome: Do You Have This Affliction?

Jane Austen once said “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” It seems in today’s fast paced world, we are too easily distracted by these busy nothings. We have created a new sickness I like to call The Busy Syndrome.

The symptoms include;

  1. Not having enough time to complete your to-do list,
  2. Being constantly on the go,
  3. Missing out on important family events or even afternoon picnics with your kids.
  4. Living life just to survive, while missing out on the best part of life… living it!

In our corporate driven world we speak about work-life balance, but many of us don’t know what it truly means. If we are able to leave the office a little early on Friday it feels as though we’ve accomplished this balance that everyone talks about. Forget about leaving early to attend a child’s sporting event. That feat is only accomplished by stay at home parents and people that don’t have high stress jobs, right?

I’m going to tell you something you might not like. Busy is really code for “that’s not important to me right now.” So every time you want to say, “I’m too busy,” replace it with “that’s not important to me right now.”

Feels different, doesn’t it?

None of us want to make our family members feel less important, and deep down we don’t really feel this way. In the digital age of constant communication we have changed the way we react at work and have formed bad habits which make us feel busier and those around us less important. So how can you change your routine to accomplish more and gain control of The Busy Syndrome?

Here’s a BIG tip…

Be proactive about planning your day rather than reactive; don’t check email or messages first thing in the morning. When you sit down and start your work day, write out a list of YOUR priorities for the day. The things you must get done, your critical musts so that you can achieve your optimal work-life balance. Make sure that your priorities take precedence over the items that are thrown your way; this way you form the intention to be proactive rather than reactive to situations and keep a clear picture of what is really important to you.

After you leave the office, disconnect. Don’t check your email or Smartphone for work messages; spend the time away from the office focusing on those around you. By not falling back into the busy syndrome, your relationships will start to change and you’ll realize what is truly important.

To further illustrate the value of establishing priorities, I share the classic example of the rocks, pebbles, and sand in a jar;

Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand | Work Life Balance | Priorities | Busy SyndromeA teacher walks into a classroom and sets a glass jar on the table. He silently places 2-inch rocks in the jar until no more can fit. He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is. He says, “Really,” and pulls out a pile of small pebbles, adding them to the jar, shaking it slightly until they fill the spaces between the rocks. He asks again, “Is the jar full?” They agree. So next, he adds a scoop of sand to the jar, filling the space between the pebbles and asks the question again. This time, the class is divided, some feeling that the jar is obviously full, but others are wary of another trick. So he grabs a pitcher of water and fills the jar to the brim, saying, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiment show you?” A bold student replies, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always take on more.” “That is one view,” he replies. Then he looks out at the class making eye contact with everyone, “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life – your family, your partner, your health, fulfilling your hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning, like your job, your house, your hobbies, your friendships. The sand and water represent the ‘small stuff’ that fills our time, like watching TV or running errands.” Looking out at the class again, he asks, “Can you see what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?”

So remember: You’re never really too busy, if something is important to you, you’ll find a way to make room for it.

For more tips on 5 Easy Ways to Balance Your Business and Personal Life; please visit my recent article on the Huffington Post.


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