Has a Busy Season Become a Chronically Busy Lifestyle?

Do you ever say to yourself, “I’m in a busy season” except that the busy season never ends? Has rushing become the norm in your life?  Do you hurry from one task to another always running about 5 minutes behind and frequently canceling plans at the last minute? How often do wish there were more hours in the day or that your body didn’t require sleep? If this describes you, maybe your season of busyness has become a lifestyle.

Confessions of a Chronically Busy “ME”

Prior to quitting my career, I blamed my overloaded calendar on having too much on my plate. Work, husband, raising kids, homeschooling, church, and service are all priorities.  That’s why I was surprised to find that I was still chronically busy after quitting my job.  How can that be?  I freed up 40 hours a week by leaving my career. Sure I filled those precious 40 hours with good things….things I always wanted to do while working but couldn’t. But I still found myself in a daily rush, running late or canceling plans.

Oblivious to My Chronically Busy Lifestyle

I may have continued this lifestyle if it weren’t for those closest to me.  The fog began to lift when my counselor mentioned that I was her one client that had to reschedule or cancel appointments the most.  Ouch!  Then, a few days later, a really good friend of mine, out of care and concern, shared that I seemed to be just as busy now as I was when I was working.  Double ouch!  Especially since one reason for quitting was to reduce the stress level from having an overloaded calendar.

Cannot Ignore the Facts…Being Busy Has Turned Into a Bad Habit

Still rushing, still running late and still having to cancel at the last minute…is this the person I want to be?  I needed to be honest with myself and not ignore the facts.  I had a bad habit…over-scheduling and being chronically busy.  If I saw an open time slot, instead of celebrating free time…I filled it!  Sure, I had good intentions and I never planned to be late or cancel. However, I did. Ouchy Ouch… (not sure that is a word but you get the idea)!

Idealism Thrives on the Chronically Busy Person

Being an idealist myself, I speak from experience.  I plan my calendar as if everything will work out perfectly. There is no margin for error…like a traffic jam, needing to get gas, a call from a friend in need, a sick child and so on. I will fill open time slots from sunrise to sunset.  Prioritizing becomes difficult for me because all calendar items are good and the cycle of running late or canceling is inevitable. The perfect schedule that I strive for has become a primary source of frustration.  The thought that others might view me as flakey or wishy-washy when in fact I am anything but…that is especially upsetting.

Five Tips I’ve Learned to Help the Chronically Busy Person

In the midst of recovering from chronic busyness, here are some action steps I have taken.  Be prepared to be honest with yourself and you may have to give up good things.
  1. Confess to yourself and to a friend that you have a problem with an over scheduled life.  Ask your friend to hold you accountable to your new way of living.  If possible, check in weekly with your friend to review your progress.
  2. Look at your priority list and change your thinking.  Give up good things.  Good things are just that, good. But good doesn’t always equate to the best. Choose instead to think, “What is God’s BEST for me?”  Go back and review your priority list in light of your new thinking.
  3. Create daily margin in your life.  Add in time between appointments to account for the unexpected daily happenings.  Actually scheduled margin in your calendar so you don’t accidentally see it as open time.  If possible add on unscheduled day per week.
  4. Dare to have 1 day a week unscheduled.  The chronically busy person misses the joy and magic of spontaneity.  Personally, I have experienced a spark in creativity.  When my brain is relaxed, I can imagine and create in ways I can’t when life is bumper to bumper.
  5. Lastly, Chicken IN!  Give up the over scheduled lifestyle.  Your health and happiness are incumbent upon it.  

Honestly, being busy has made me feel important.  However that is a lie. My value is not based on the demands of my schedule but in God’s love for me. He didn’t equip humankind to be chronically busy.  Sure, we can endure a busy season but be alert, the season should come to an end.

I wold love to hear from you.  Please share a comment on this topic or any others.  Blessing to you and remember to Chicken IN today!!