Busy Always? Here's Some Root Cause & Remedy


Being aware of our purpose and priorites could save us from over committing.

Is being too busy affecting your relationships? It is for my friend Amy. She calls herself lazy as she is always running behind her infinitely long list of to-do's. Even when she is sitting down after a long day she feels guilty that she is supposed to do something useful (like folding the laundry while watching TV).  She says sorry a zillion times as she frequently cancels our coffee chats at the last moment.

Seeing her hyperactivity sometimes makes wonder why we over commit? Why she feels compelled to say “Yes” to every request? Recently found some answer from this article in HBR. It says,

"Saying “Yes”

1. Avoids conflicts

2. Takes less time than pausing to decide whether or not the request is truly important
3. Feels right as many of us have become addicted to the speed of our lives. We mistake activity for productivity, more for better.


Saying “No” would require us to know what our priorities are. Sad truth is many times we don’t know our priorities.  I remember when I was bored with my day job (not seeing how my presence was making any difference) I used to sign up for too many things so I don’t have to face the hard truth that I need to figure out my purpose - it was too scary! As long as I was “needed” it justified my being.

In the same article Tony Schwartz also mentioned,

"Making these choices requires that we regularly step back from the maddening crowd. It’s only when we pause — when we say no to the next urgent demand or seductive source of instant gratification — that we give ourselves the space to reflect on, metabolize, assess, and make sense of what we’ve just experienced."

Sometimes we are afraid that saying “No” is rude, it would hurt others’ feelings and would ruin the relationships. But being busy is causing more damage in the long run.

There are more powerful choices than being the prisoner of our polite but reluctant “Yes”. When you know what you care in the end you can always be honest and creative. Next time before rushing to say "Yes" to someone, take a breath and Ask yourself: How can I honor my original plans* and at the same time keep a great relationship with this person?


*If you don’t have a plan or are not sure about your priorities, lets talk!


This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.