I was on the phone the other day with Bill, who was lamenting the fact that his wife was angry that he hasn’t been to their vacation home in over three years. “I mean jeez,” he said to me. “How does she think I was able to afford the home in the first place? Doesn’t the woman realize I need to work?”
I had to chuckle. Here Bill was, logging 80-hour work weeks so that he could afford to buy things he didn’t have the time to enjoy because he was working so much. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
The fact is, many of us are crazy busy. But we’re not busy doing things that fuel our passion. Instead, we’re busy working our lives away. Most of us believe that only dreamers chase their ideas and passions. And dreamers—let’s face it—don’t exactly enjoy social status in today’s world. In fact, it seems like the busier you are, the more respected you are.
If this sounds like your life, you’re not alone.
But if you’re like most people, you’ve this game stops working at some point. You become tired. Stressed out. Grouchy. Nothing would be better for you than to stop working so hard. And you know it, too.
Yet you continue to work harder than we should. Why? Because you don’t know what else to do. If you are like many of my clients, maybe being busy has become a modern-day addiction. Something is missing inside, and you’re not quite sure what it is. So you work really hard to earn lots of money to try to fill the void with material things—the fancier car, the bigger house, the pricey wardrobe.
Does this work? Maybe for a little while. But the feeling of emptiness always comes back. So what do you do? You work even harder to get even bigger and better things. The sad thing is, you never have the time to enjoy what you’ve earned, with the people who matter most to you. Why? You guessed it. Because you are too busy working.
When you put all of your focus on being busy, other things, like your relationships, are bound to suffer. But does this make people change their ways? Hardly. As a matter of fact, being busy is a great—and unfortunately accepted—excuse for poor performance. Your marriage is falling apart and needs some attention? No worries. Just stay really busy and everyone will understand.
If you are so busy being busy that you aren’t getting anything meaningful done, it’s time to take stock. If you are so busy that you don’t have time to enjoy the people and hobbies you love, it’s time to ask yourself why. Are you busy because you are afraid of underperforming? Are you busy because it’s easier than addressing the issues with your spouse or kids? Are you busy because you hate your job but don’t want to admit it? Are you busy because it’s hard to admit you’ve lost touch with yourself, your dreams, and passions?
Figure out why you’re so busy, and you’ll ultimately figure out what’s stopping you from truly living your life.