Ask a therapist (or really anyone these days) how they’re doing and you’re sure to get a litany of sighs and shudders, exclamations about how busy they are – overwhelmed and stressed out by the immense amount of work they have to do.
That used to be me, too. I’d stand there nodding my head all, empathy and moaning, as I related my own tales of overwork.
Hearing us, one would think they’d stumbled upon two Heads of State in the middle of busy election cycles, who are also in the midst running their respective countries and dealing with paparazzi who just discovered their illicit affairs.
I began wondering, what were we all so busy doing? What was I so busy doing?
I wasn’t campaigning for mayor or curing cancer. I don’t have six children (like my mother) and an entire household to manage. I wasn’t publishing books nor was I building schools in rural Kentucky. Truth be told, I wasn’t even exercising regularly or creating elaborate meals with dashes of Fleur de Sel and sprigs of mint. I wasn’t learning instruments nor was I visiting old ladies every Tuesday.
Yet, there I was, throwing my hat in the ring for Most Busy, running hither and yon. Yet, I didn’t have a six-figure income or a tight bod or a glowing complexion as a result of my efforts.
Like my colleagues around me, I was doing an immense amount of scrambling with very little to show for it.
So, I decided to do some investigation and, in true Serial style, I discovered something radical.
It was all bullshit.
I found out that my colleagues and I, along with many other people I knew, were indeed running around like headless chickens, but this had nothing to do with being productive, creative or fulfilled.
If you’re someone who finds yourself answering, “How are you?” with an exhaustive list of all your tasks, being too busy isn’t your problem.
Debunking the Busy Myth: 3 Realities
1. You don’t have a clear vision of what you want
When you were working towards graduations, perhaps “a private practice” or a “PhD” was as clear as you got in terms of goal setting. Now that you’re here, you haven’t reassessed.
You find yourself stretched between seeing too many clients, teaching, writing, doing agency work part-time and volunteering for professional organizations with barely enough money to support you, much less pay back your loans.
But because you don’t know what you want, you take on everything, imagining that somehow things will all fall into place.