How many people do you know who say they are ‘crazy busy’? Some people like always being busy though some can appear chronically inattentive, disorganised and overbooked. Dr. Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and founder of The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health, was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School in the 1990s and noticed a number of people coming to him complaining about these ‘symptoms’ and wondering if they had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Some did but most did not. Instead, they had what he referred to a ‘severe case of modern life’ and this has only been exacerbated in the last two decades – not a true attention deficit disorder, but instead an environmental stand-in.
So, why do people like being ‘crazy busy’? If you are busy, then it makes you feel that you are in demand. This is not necessarily true, of course. And, on a physiological level, you get a rush each time you speed through something. You can get hooked on that feeling and become an adrenaline junkie.
Modern life makes us feel as if we can be everywhere and do everything…. How did we cope before mobile phones, email, internet….? As busy as people often appear to be these days, they are certainly not bored.
Is there a downside? Pushing the limits of how much we can do can be exhilarating. However, doing too much too fast can be exhausting, misguided and potentially dangerous — for instance, using mobile phones while driving without hands-free. In our overloaded world, time and attention can be depleted before the day’s work has even begun. The quality of our work diminishes with speed. The faster you do something, the less well you do it.
You must choose. You must prioritise. In order to do well and be happy, you must learn that it is perfectly acceptable to say ‘No, thank you‘ to people and activities. In this era, you must deliberately preserve and cultivate your most valuable connections to people, activities and whatever else is most important to you.
You need to give yourself permission to make the most of the short time you have on this planet. [And now I will go away and take my own advice….!]