I’m just so busy!

“I’m just so busy!”

You’ll hear it all the time. It’s like a default position for many of us. The ultimate excuse for just about anything. A badge of honour, even.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Busy isn’t productive. Busy isn’t the point. Personally, hearing these words makes me cringe.

Don’t get me wrong, I hear myself say it sometimes. Stress is nothing new. And in fact, so called ‘good stress’ or eustress is what gets us out of bed in the morning, in action mode and is within our coping ability. It’s when the stress becomes distress or ‘bad stress’ that we need to take stock.

Burnout as a result of ‘bad’ stress is not uncommon and is defined as ‘physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress’.

I think the ‘busy epidemic’ is often societal and status orientated. Certainly, in the West being seen as busy is often synonymous with success. A busy business is a productive one, right?

In their wonderful book, It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson advocate calm over busy – “Chaos should not be the natural state at work. Anxiety isn’t a prerequisite for progress. Sitting in meetings all day isn’t required for success. Choose calm.” They also talk about all of this being about making a choice to be calm.

You can make a choice at any time. Busy doesn’t need to own you. You can own it.

Take stock.

Slow down and prioritise.

It doesn’t have to be crazy at work, rest or play.