Eric Krueger

Chronic Busyness

Eric Krueger Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

There's acute busyness, and there is chronic busyness. They're as self-explanatory as they sound:

If you meet someone that fits the characteristics of chronic busyness, you should be cautious and understand this dynamic. Keep in mind that busy ≠ productive.

What's The Issue?

From Psychology Today:

Chronic busyness is a way many people distract themselves from uncomfortable, unpleasant, and painful emotions. The busyness, the action, the constant movement, and the over-commitment actually protect the person from being aware of their emotions. When chronically busy like this, Person B can suppress painful feelings about loss. It's a defense against the pain.

The "chronic" piece of this is usually caused by poor time management, overcommitment, or inability to set boundaries. This leads to a set of unhealthy behaviors, especially if you need to engage with this person for any reason. They could include:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. - Upton Sinclair

All of these points leads to varying degrees of stress, burnout, compromised health, anxiety, reduced happiness, strained relationships, and overall diminished productivity in the long run.

If This Is Someone You Know

Consider who this person is to you, and what type of relationship you want/need to have with them. In a professional setting, they could limit your progress or prevent project success. In a personal setting, you may have trouble deepening (or maintaining) your relationship. Understand that until the underlying elements of their chronic busyness are addressed, engagement with them will always be challenging. You may be able to fit in some time or make some headway temporarily, but don't be surprised when your plans are cancelled, calls rescheduled, or deadlines extended.

If This Is You

Be introspective, and be honest. Consider the signs of chronic busyness in yourself. Read up on time-management strategies. Set boundaries, learn to say no, and learn to delegate (and be okay with delegating). Embrace self-care, including (and especially) seeking support from friends, family, and professionals if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Tempus fugit - time flies. It's a universal truth that you make time for things that are important to you. Consider how you spend yours.


Enjoyed? You can subscribe to my blog. Comments? Send me a message.

#productivity #time_management #word smatter