Busy people seem important, but how do they feel?
This is the question posed in this Psychology Today post. The author makes the point that having free time used to be viewed as a measure of privilege, enjoyed by people who did not need to work. But now the opposite is true, according to a recent study, which found “busy” people – spending more time working than on leisure activities – were perceived to be more in-demand, ambitious, and determined, but also seen to be less happy.
When one of our Lifestyle Managers read this article, it brought back memories of her time in a corporate leadership role – when putting in excessive overtime and making sure everyone, including the boss, was aware of it – was viewed as a badge of honor and “bonus-worthy” rather than perhaps a sign of poor work habits, procrastination, or simple lack of willingness to ask for help.
She was also reminded that busy co-workers who took this approach often complained they were burned out and unhappy with the toll it was taking on their family and personal relationships but were unable or afraid to change if it could mean jeopardizing their position with the company.
So, what’s the answer to breaking the mindset of “busy is better”?
As with anything that requires change, acknowledgment is the first step. Stop and look at how you’re using your time and why, and what you could change. Consider the consequences of being too busy, both positive and negative.
In Your Business
- At work, talk to colleagues – you may be surprised to find they’ll share the same feelings and desire to slow down.
- Start with small actions. Maybe, instead of working through lunch at your desks, allow yourselves planned time each day for a break, even a 15-minute group walk – and put it on your calendars.
- Discuss how to shorten or eliminate meetings, or how to better balance workload.
In Your Personal Life
- Talk to your family about how to divide chores.
- Look at obtaining outside help or partner more with friends in similar situations.
Most importantly, work on getting rid of feelings of guilt. Remind yourself of what is truly important – you can’t take back time lost.