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An Addiction to Busyness

I love the quote above.  I believe to the core of my being that it is true.  And I know that sometimes just ‘being’ is the last thing I want to do.

I confess, I am a busyness addict.  I know that when I get stressed, overwhelmed, or tired, I move quickly into run, run, run mode.  Run, Run Run mode means you don’t have to think, feel, engage or be, you just run. Run to the next item on your to-do list, run to the next event, run to the next ‘thing’ doesn’t matter what it is you are running towards as long as you are running.

I would also confess I am a busyness addict in recovery, meaning I am aware that I have this problem, and I TRY to put rituals into place to catch myself.  But occasionally, the pull of busyness is just too great, and I have fallen off the recovery wagon into the temptation of busyness.

Here are some signs you might be a busyness addict:

  • Your emotional reaction to life is not congruent with the events of your life.  For example, you are going through something painful, sad, or even joyous and happy, yet your affect is pretty much flat-lined.  You aren’t “feeling” anything.
  • You become obsessed with checking things off the to-do list often telling yourself ‘once I get everything done THEN I can relax.’ Here’s a shocking fact–you won’t ever get everything off the to-do list!! (This one has become my number one sign!)
  • You are ALWAYS multi-tasking; if you are watching TV, you are on the computer, if you are talking on the phone you are making dinner.  You can’t stand to do one thing and just engage in that activity.
  • You are obsessed with checking your phone, email, facebook whatever you constantly have to be checking in with the outside world.

The number one thing all of these traits have in common: They pull us away from ourselves.  They pull us into busy.  And when we are in busy mode we don’t have to FEEL anything–which sadly is the goal.  The price that we pay for not feeling is that we can’t engage with our life.  We can’t show up, be present, be grateful and be intentional about life.  We can’t Live Happier.  We will always be chasing the proverbial carrot and never succeeding.  It is like the laser light that I use to entertain my cat, she chases and chases and never actually physically catches anything.

So what can you do to get on the Busyness Wagon?

  1. Recognize your ‘busyness’ signs. What activity(ies) do you engage when you get overwhelmed?
  2. Put in natural check-in points throughout the day/week, 3 deep breaths at a stop light, 5 minutes of downtime in the morning, body scans throughout the day.  (Just a heads up when you are in busyness mode the absolute LAST thing you will want to do is stop busyness mode–so I have found it best to add rituals throughout the day that force me to stop)
  3. Ask friends and family to help you stay accountable.  Ask them to share when they feel you have entered busyness mode.
  4. Remember this is a PROCESS.  I have come very far in my recovery, and I still fall off the wagon.  Each time the fall is shorter and shorter and my recovery period gets longer and longer.

I KNOW as someone who is in recovery–Life is so much better when I am not in my addiction, I am happier, more engaged, more peaceful and more present.  Life is technical color and bright.

What about you?  Can you relate to the busyness addiction?  What are your signs?  What have you found that helps? I would LOVE to hear from you.


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