The 3 dangers of being too busy

If having too much to do and too little time is your usual mantra, it’s time to look at why ‘busy’ isn’t always the best option.

The world is getting busier.

Most supermarkets have an express lane for people in a hurry.

We use drive-through restaurants so we can order, collect and eat food on the go.

And we sleep less. The Sleep Health Foundation says about 7.4 million Aussies don’t get enough shut-eye.

This year’s Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey found two-thirds of women feel nervous or on edge, often because they are overwhelmed getting through every day and juggling careers, kids and ageing parents.

Scott Stein, communication expert and author of Leadership Hacks, says many people mistake being busy for being productive.

And being too busy brings unforeseen dangers and disadvantages, he says.

Danger 1: You have no time to think

We do so many things we don’t give ourselves time to think strategically.

We may be working hard, but we are not working smarter, says Scott.

“We miss an opportunity because we are busy doing things that take us off track,” he says.

“It’s like driving somewhere and finding the traffic is backed up.

“You could pull over, take out the GPS and find a different route but instead you keep pushing through and hoping the traffic will magically get better.

“Take time to think about how you can do a task differently to make it easier and faster.”

Danger 2: You have no time to recharge

Being busy takes up physical or emotional energy, or both.

And when you are always busy, it’s easy to lose your spark and enthusiasm at work and at home.

“You get tired, mentally exhausted and feel you are on a treadmill,” says Scott.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and flat and that affects your work productivity and your creativity and ability to innovate.

“You get stuck. And maybe your family will complain that you no longer want to do things you’d normally do together.”

Danger 3: You have no time to connect

You might think you’re listening, but you aren’t.

Because while you look like you are listening to your colleague, partner or kids, your mind is busy thinking about what you have to do next or what you should have done and haven’t.

“People around you feel like objects. Whether it’s at home or at work, people sense you are not present and that you’re not actually listening to what people are saying,” says Scott.

“They want a connection, but you are skimming the surface.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.