When I was a systems analyst, many years ago, I was on call a lot, and could end up working from my home computer at 4am several nights in a row.
I thought I loved this, until I ended up in emerg with something that felt like a heart attack. I smoked then. When I returned home, I noticed my overflowing ashtray of partially smoked cigarettes that I’d chain-smoked that night.
On the spot, I decided to quit smoking. A month or so later, I accepted a management position and stopped being on call. As a manager, I advocated for 8-hour shifts instead of the 12-hour shifts we were so used to and thought so great. I’d known long before that time that 12-hour shifts wear people out: those 3 to 4 days they get between shifts are all needed to recuperate.
I’d like to say that I’d learned my lesson and made changes that turned things around for me. But no. The reason I had loved that insane way of living was because it was exciting to see how much I could fit into the day. I was always running from one thing to the next all day long.
Here I am, many years later, helping people who do what I did find a better way of living. My husband would argue that it’s like the pot teaching the kettle – he firmly believes I pack too much into my day.
But I don’t believe that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, or malfunctioning in people like me. We love being busy. The problem isn’t the business; the problem is the reason behind the business.
If what you do makes you feel energized, so that by the end of the day, you’re ready to relax and enjoy the evening, then the ‘why’ is something good. If, on the other hand, you end your day so tired you can only pass out, then the ‘why’ may need some adjusting. You may have a need to prove yourself to others (and to yourself), or impress others, or protect your position. This ‘why’ will probably involve trying to make others see your value. So often, this is a losing battle, and ends up depleting your energy, leaving you feeling sad, alone, and depressed.
If you’ve found yourself managing your time insanely, it may be time to consider the why, and make a few changes.
Quote of the Week
“Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”
― Brené Brown
An ER doctor on triaging your “crazy busy” life
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