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When Busyness Takes Over!

Years ago travelling through the London underground tube station with a friend and waiting to catch our next train. Suddenly we were captivated by a lady running frenetically along the platform as if her life depended on her getting somewhere urgently. This was certainly a case of when busyness takes over!

The closer she came to us I recognised that it was Senga! An old friend from university. She also recognised me, stopped running and came over.

We were immersed in catching up on all our news. Eventually, I said ” Senga I better not keep you as you seem in such a hurry”. She replied ” oh thats just what you do in London, rush rush rush, I am not really going anywhere”!

However, that was a defining moment for me and that memory has stayed with me for many years. It got me thinking why do we behave like this?

Too busy for life!

In addition, I believe we partly stay busy out of habit and sometimes just get caught up in the momentum of life. When we are so busy we do not have time to focus on anything else!

Habits that do not Serve Us!

Furthermore, I believe we partly stay busy out of habit and sometimes just get caught up in the momentum of life. When we are so busy we do not have time to focus on anything else!

In other words, busyness becomes the norm. People want to blend in and do what others are doing to feel “normal”.

So as leaders how often do we get caught up in the fast pace of our organisation This speed can lead to a disconnect with ourself and our team. It’s like being a mouse caught on a wheel and you just seem to keep spinning round, not going anywhere. Our stress levels soar as we try to keep up with our work load and expectations.

Above all, the irony is that stress levels increase as we try to keep up with the fast pace.  Our energy levels are reduced and results in our stress levels increasing as we try to keep up.

As a result, leads to fatigue and impacts on health. Business is affected, productivity is reduced and the bottom line is impacted.

What the research tells us?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stress has been classified as the health epidemic of the 21st century. A global issue carrying a personal responsibility.  We all must do our part to create a balance.

Research shows our brain doesn’t cope too well with being busy all the time. Many brain processes require “downtime” during the day. To rest and replenishes the brains stores of attention and motivation. The research goes on to note that creativity and productivity are essential to achieve stable memories of daily living. Downtime leads to replenishment and greater effectiveness.

Further more, author Brene Brown talks in her book Daring Greatly about being busy is a human addiction. Calls this numbing behaviours that are adopted to hide our vulnerabilities.

In conclusion, to fear giving up an addiction of being busy, could create time to force us to address some areas of our life that we have been avoiding. This Prevents growth!

Sound familiar?

Some Ingredients to reduce stress and busyness as a leader: –

1. Daily Self Care 
2. Being present
3. Listen to your “gut” your intuition
5. Create a work / life balance
6. Plan your day and schedule time for reactive work
7. List areas of our life that need to be looked at and schedule time to review them

Being busy does not always reflect productivity!

Would love to hear what strategies you employ to reduce your busyness?