The high cost of letting ourselves get too busy

7 reasons why letting myself get too busy hurts me:

  1. I feel unable to explore my more creative, clever side.
    I am an intelligent,creative individual. I am capable of very clever ideas.  But I never have a proper moment to think of these ideas lying deep inside me. I am always too busy doing stuff.
    COST:  Those clever, creative  ideas never get  born.
  2. All my time is already allocated. That means I can’t act on special opportunities ( or maybe even notice them) when they come up. (Read the Prologue: Starting with a Handshake (p xi) in Creating a World Without Poverty where Muhummad Yunus, creator of the Grameen Bank (micro-finance), describes the magnificent thing that happens because he wasn’t too busy to act on a special opportunity that presented itself  to him.)
    COST:  High-impact  opportunities  fail to get turned into realities.
  3. I am  so booked-up to do daily, routine tasks I have no chance to explore higher order strategic issues where I could make  big impact.
    COST: I am failing to  fully exploit my opportunity to display leadership.

  4. I feel bad a lot of the time. I do clever and wonderful things all day long — things I should proud of. But I never seem to have a moment just to sit back and and  feel proud of what I’ve just done. That’s because as soon as I finish one thing, I must start another.
    COST: I don’t re-charge my “feeling-good-about-myself” batteries often enough.

  5. I constantly work to a point of exhaustion and don’t get enough sleep. As a result, I don’t feel good:

    (a) My mood feels flat and I feel less responsive to other people’s needs. My focus turns inwards, I feel numb towards other people and my “world shrinks”. Other people feel hurt by my seeming indifference and our relationship suffers. I feel guilty about this sense of  numbness, which makes me feel  even worse about myself.

    (b)  My life feels very unbalanced – I haven’t got  time or energy to devote to other things like  my health or making time for others or having fun. I tell myself “I’ll just get over this hump, and then I can attend to those other important things.”  But then something else comes up.

    (c) I am not enjoying my work so much  anymore. It used to be so satisfying, but now everything  feels like a big chore. There’s no joy anymore.

    (d) I have really low energy and it’s such an effort dragging my body around.

    (e) I have a sense of  total lack of control over my time –  every spare minute seems to be allocated.  I no longer feel I have any free choice over how I spend my time.
    COST: I suffer burn-out, depression, stress and inflammation in various parts of my body, leading to reduced immunity, symptoms and ultimately killer diseases — of course a rotten quality of life.

  6. I am not functioning at my peak. My attention is so focused on all these consuming tasks that I fail to notice small, minor problems arising. Or if I do notice them, I don’t have the energy to deal with them. As a result,  some of these small problems grow into big, serious problems.
    COST: Problems  that I would normally deal with end up costing me dearly.
  7. I am working under so much pressure and so tired that I am starting to make errors. These are errors of ineptitude such as forgetting to do things I wouldn’t normally forget to do or cutting corners in my thinking. I hate making these errors because I know they are so avoidable.  I beat myself up badly for making them. I end up losing confidence in myself.
    COST: I lose confidence in myself and my self-respect.

Conclusion: It’s smart to give ourselves the luxury of opting out for short spells during the day–to reflect, to gain perspective, pat ourselves on the back for jobs done well, to catch our breath, and so on. Just 5 or 10 minutes here and there could make all the difference.