The plague of busyness has taken hold and somehow the majority of its victims are people of privilege, adequate means and ample time. They're often people with creative tendencies, supportive social circles, co-parents, and savings accounts.
Might I suggest that if you are a person of basic privilege (food, shelter, can pay your bills) and you're up to your eyeballs 110% of the time, you're doing it wrong.
Busyness is unhealthy for the people who perceive their lives as being untenably busy as well as for all the friends, partners, children and community members who have to sit with stress and anxiety that they didn't generate. For people who are super-busy-and-can't-even as well as for their exhausted loved ones, I'd like to unpack a few of the real issues behind perceived busyness and suggest ideas for reframing them.
Time Management & Procrastination
If this is your biggest obstacle to feeling focused, happy, calm etc., then put down any extracurriculars that you can afford to shelf and focus on changing your habits. There are apps, books and coaches that can help you with this. Use reminders in your phone for deadlines, read articles about how to work on this, and change the conversation from "OMG I'M SO F*CKING BUSY!" to "man, I really left this thing to the last minute and I'm so frustrated with myself" so that you can connect with the people you love instead of handing them an anxiety bomb and walking away. Then once you're feeling up to it, pick up a small project and use it as a test for how to organize your time and energy to do the things you want to do without making yourself and other people crazy.
In my experience, martyrdom comes from a deep need for acknowledgement and attention and is reinforced by an inability or unwillingness to delegate. Often this mindset trickles out of toxic work environments and can be tough for people to kick. While it may scratch an itch, martyrdom doesn't make anyone happy. Some ideas for overcoming this: Explore your need for people to see you as sacrificing the most, delegate work that you don't have time for, clearly communicate your needs and boundaries, and realize that this mentality actually inhibits the efficiency and output of you and the people around you.
Allergy to Stillness
This is a big one, for everyone. When we're not busy, we are with ourselves, our thoughts, our anxieties, we feel separate and lonely. We fill every minute of our day to the degree that being present for anything is impossible. How can we really engage in an activity when all we're thinking about is the next thing or how many things there are on our lists? Exploring this is essential. What can you take off your plate? Can you resist the urge to distract yourself in the five minutes you have between activities and just be present? What kind of time can you dedicate to sitting in stillness or meditation? Finding presence in your daily activities, work, and relationships is the difference between a busy life and a productive and meaningful one.
These are just a few ideas, I'd love to know how other folks have worked on reframing their lives to feel more connected, productive, and happy.