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The cult of busyness

​Do you think you are accomplishing as much as you are trying to do? Do you spend as much time as you’d like with your close friends or family? Do you have time to do the things you love the most?

My guess is that your answer to the above questions is ‘No’.

Most of us live in a culture of busyness; we are surrounded by lots of stimuli that are driving us harder and faster all the time. We constantly feel the need to get things done and we believe that being busy all the time will make us more successful at work. A new research conducted by the Journal of Consumer Research, reveals that the busier a person appeared, the more important they are deemed. A very busy schedule makes many of us feel good and important so we became addicted to being busy and to get things done all the time. We leave the office but, most of the time, that doesn’t mean we stop working. We are permanently connected to emails, we reply to texts, we take calls and, of course, many of us spend too much time scrolling on social media feeds.

There is a pressure to be busy and even when we are indulging in free time, many of us think we are not doing enough and should be doing something else. Another study conducted on 1,500 Dutch employees, showed that when people feel rushed, they respond by going faster. Nowadays busyness is a socially acceptable addiction but being busy all the time is a lot more dangerous than most of us think. Busyness can feel a void for some people but overworking can lead to health issues like impaired sleep, depression, heavy drinking, diabetes, impaired memory and heart disease. Not to mention that being at home physically but not mentally can pose a real threat to relationships.

People tend to stay busy out of habit or even fear but, those who can find the right work-life balance often perform better at work and live a more fulfilling personal life. Habits are hard to break but there are small changes we can all make to prioritise other parts of our lives:

  • Stop speeding through the day

  • Take some time to rest, relax and rediscover what it’s like to do nothing

  • Exercise and/or meditate

  • Say ‘no’ more often

  • Stop answering emails after work

  • Forget about your phones from time to time

It’s not easy to become less busy in a very busy world as there isn’t an end to busyness - there is no end to emails, calls, meetings or to-do lists. But we should try to stop being quite so busy all the time and focus more on our health, happiness, family and friends.