Busy people get things done, or do they?


When my friend Stephanie explained her predicament, it made absolute sense to me because I struggle with something similar.

We were talking about finding balance in life and ideas for sharing the various responsibility loads we all have.

“The bigger problem for me is not not being willing to share, delegate or even cut out something,” Stephanie said. “The problem I have is that as soon as I make a little space in my schedule or remove something from my responsibility list, I quickly add something new to take up the space. It is as if I’m insecure without my schedule, my responsibilities and my life in general being constantly overwhelmed.”

Addicted to busyness

I’ve heard others talk about an addiction to busyness.

Still others are get-it-done kinds of people and receive a lot of requests to take on projects or tasks. You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

It’s true, people who are able to tackle projects head on and work hard to accomplish everything on their to-do list each day will most likely play a major part in accomplishing what you need. But constantly adding to the busy person’s to-do list could be detrimental to his or her health if he or she has a hard time declining requests or sticking to a disciplined workday.

At the same time an element of busyness or pressure is sometimes what we all need to actually stop and accomplish that overwhelming project we have been putting off. And if deadlines aren’t set for even the smallest of responsibilities in our lives, then it is natural to take much longer than is really needed to accomplish them.

Deadline way of life

Deadlines definitely dictate my life. Not only because The Alabama Baptist is a media ministry that exists on daily, weekly and monthly deadlines, but also because the sheer volume of what I’m juggling in all parts of life would swallow me whole if I didn’t force daily and sometimes hourly deadlines on myself.

I don’t say this to fish for sympathy or as a plea for help. I say it to explain the struggle of one who both desires and despises an overly busy life.

I’m a dreamer and sometimes overflow with ideas and passion for what could be.

I’m a doer. I like to work hard and get things done. I love efficiency and productivity and streamlining the streamlined process that was streamlined twice last month.

I’m a deadline enthusiast. Yes I was that college student who could start her 15-page research paper 12 hours before it was due and not only turn it in on time but walk away with an A.

I can’t always explain the thrill that comes with the clarity and focus of deadline pressure but it is quite addicting.

Still as much as I love the pressure and juggling lots of projects, am I being fair to all involved by living like this?

Along with frustrating others unnecessarily, I’m likely not doing my best work because there is no time to polish and perfect. On top of that, I’m not being kind to my mental nor physical health.

Sacrificing the many to be ‘all in’ with the few

A recurring suggestion from mentors in my life is to narrow my focus to a few specific commitments and be “all in” rather than spreading myself thin and giving a little of myself to a lot of things.

As I evaluate what can be trimmed, I struggle with what to sacrifice and how to protect the newly created space.

A good friend recently said, “Quit talking about it and start praying about it.” Ah, yes, another important part of my life that gets neglected when I’m too busy.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

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