Busy is Good, Right?

For the past couple of weeks, I have had several people ask me how I am. I have replied that I’ve been really busy, because the amount of work coming at me from all directions has been all I can think about. Without exception, they all reply “Busy is good, right?” As if there is something wrong with not being busy, as if my life would not be full or satisfying if I was not busy, or as if not being busy meant that there was something wrong me!

When I have occasionally said that being busy isn’t always great, they will say, “But you chose this!” Well, yes, I have chosen my life and career and yes, busy means that both are thriving, but……

In my first book, Addict America: The Lost Connection, I write about how Americans in general pride themselves on being busy and being “go-getters” and pushing themselves to extremes. That’s why I chose the title “Addict America.” These qualities can be great and can result in personal and professional achievements and can garner admiration and respect from other Americans, but they can also lead to unhealthy stress, unhappiness, distraction from what is meaningful in life, and to addiction.

The way I conceptualize addiction is that it is a state of being where a person has elevated the amount of stimulation they need just to feel normal to a heightened level that requires constant seeking of activities and/or drugs that provide that stimulation. It takes over the person’s life.

Obsessive, compulsive, out-of-control behavior done in spite of negative consequences to self or others.

That is the definition of addiction and so when I say I’m really busy, it is a red flag for me and anyone else to ask if I am taking care of myself, finding balance in my daily life, spending time with my loved ones, and am able to know when to stop and relax. If you ask me any of that and I get angry or irritable, that is another red flag.

The reality for me, right now, is that I am really busy and I am also paying attention to those other questions. I have learned the difference between being in an addictive, or disconnected, state and a recovering, or Connected, state (see A New Working Definition of Recovery) and I choose recovery and Connection. So now I am going to save this article, go have some lunch, and enjoy some quality time with my husband. Work can wait.

Be In Light,