While perusing Maria Nemeth’s excellent book The Energy of Money, I came across a phrase I’d never heard before but described my lifestyle far too well for my liking – «Busyholism». Take this «Busyholism Inventory» adapted from the book. (If you’re too busy to take it, you may as well assume you are one and skip ahead to the suggestions which follows!):
Use the following scale to score:
1 = not true at all
2 = somewhat untrue
3 = don’t know
4 = somewhat true
5 = absolutely true
1. I am tired most of the time.
2. I always seem to be in motion.
3. Most of the people in my life (spouse, friends, family) don’t appreciate all I have to do.
4. I get very frustrated if I cannot finish a task or if I’m interrupted and I have to put it off until later.
5. On Sunday (or my day off) I have a list of things I must do before I can play or rest. I rarely get to the play and rest part.
6. I often feel isolated from those I love.
7. By the time I do something I like, I am too tired to really enjoy it.
8. I feel guilty when I am resting or just taking it easy.
9. When I am doing something (such as watching a son or daughter play soccer), I often miss out on the fun because I am too preoccupied with what needs to be done next.
10. I use substances such as caffeine or sugar to prod myself into action during the day, and turn to alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs (prescription or over-the-counter) to relax in the evening.
11. I feel resentful because I am not doing the things I really want to do.
12. I feel that I have more responsibilities than most of my family or friends.
13. I usually do things in a hurry, like gulp my food or throw on clothes.
14. I forget to take care of myself (do not eat, drink water, or use the rest room) for long periods of time.
15. My friends and family tell me they are not seeing enough of me. Or, when I am with them, they tell me I seem withdrawn or emotionally removed.
There are no ‘Cosmo Quiz’ score totals to compare yourself with, but suffice it to say if you identify with any of the above descriptions, you’ll benefit from the suggestions which follow…
1. Take a day out
(Notice I didn’t say a day «off» – that’d never happen, would it?)
Taking a day out to overview your life direction, meaning, and purpose is one of the most powerfully productive things you can do, so even we confirmed busyholics can often justify it to ourselves.
For maximum impact, remove yourself completely from your home and work environment to minimize the siren call of busy distractions. Let’s face it, it’s easier to not answer e-mail or take phone calls when you’re nowhere near a computer or telephone!
2. Slow down and smell the cheese
When my daughter was two, her favourite song was called ‘Slow down and Smell the Cheese’. In the song, a frantic mouse named Tutter is running everywhere, pushing his cheese around the mouse hole, when he finally calls out in exhaustion, ‘So little time, so much cheese to push around!’
Just for today, spend time in the slow lane, literally and metaphorically. Leave yourself some extra time this morning, and drive to work in the slow lane. If you travel by train or bus, make a deal with yourself that you will not rush to catch the next one, no matter what.
As the mouse’s friend, a bear named, appropriately enough, ‘Bear’, sings, ‘Life is so much better when you smell the Feta!’
3. Get support
While there are no official support groups for ‘Busyholism’ (let’s face it, we’re all too busy to attend the meetings!), you can create your own support system. This week, experiment with getting support by making sure that you ask for support at least three times each day – even if (especially if!) you feel like you don’t need it.
Have fun, learn heaps, and chill out!
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