By Chris Clemente
There was a time when people thought being busy was how life's supposed to be. That busy equals productivity, and all eight hours of your day was supposed to be spent staring at your computer, notebook, or whatever to say you were "working."
But, nowadays, the word "busy" isn’t as glamourous as it once was. Now, it doesn't necessarily mean you're productive. On the contrary, it might point out poor time management skills.
So if you're stuck thinking that "busy" is something to be proud of, think again. Here are some ways your life may be turning toxic because of it.
1. You’ll get burnt out faster. At some point in your career, especially if you’re an employee, and most especially if you’re an employee working in a job you don’t like, you’re going to get sick of all of it. Of sitting at your desk, typing out things, doing the same things day in and day out.
If you're filling your days with nothing but work, working through lunch, scheduling meetings after hours, you're going to be headed down a dark career path. Burnout is real. It's not something imagined or an excuse people throw around.
2. You might fail to be present when spending time with friends and family. When work is life, even get-togethers or dates are affected—especially now that technology has made it so easy to access our emails and to always be on call, it's really harder to discipline ourselves to disconnect when it's needed.
You might think that it's enough that you're physically where you're supposed to be, but being present in all aspects is even more important. When your partner is talking to you or is looking for attention and you're busy fiddling with your phone or answering work-related things, this might create friction between you two.
It's always best to leave work in the office!
3. You compromise 'me' time. Sometimes when we're trying to make deadlines or when we're cramming, we tend to look for things in our calendar to chuck out and let work take its place. And with so many things, people, and events vying for our attention, what almost always suffers is the 'me' time we carve out when we can.
No, no, no.
Don't think that just because it’s only for you, that it deserves less attention than if plans involve other people. Don't feel guilty for wanting to take care of your well-being. Ever. The truth is, it's more important than other things because if you're not feeling balanced within yourself, chances are you're going to drop the ball on your other commitments.
Besides, who else will look out for you? You need to take care of yourself before others because you can;t take care of others in bad shape anyway.
4. You forget that play is as important as work. Some people, mostly Type A personalities, feel that play is a waste of time. That mixing pleasure with business or inserting rest in between the work day is counter-productive, but, the truth is, play is also an important part of work.
It;s not a sin to enjoy what you're doing or inserting some sort of enjoyment where you can while working. Having a laugh in the pantry with some colleagues, getting coffee in a nearby shop, or even just taking a stroll outside can do wonders for one's productivity.
Also, it's important for you to build good relationships in the office, especially if you're part of a team, because that's how you build rapport with the people around you. Sometimes, that gets things done faster. When you get to know people, you learn how to talk to them better, to get your suggestions across, and to criticize them in a way that they'll take constructively.
5. You begin to believe that making a living is the same as living your life. Career is important. Work is essential. You need it to pay bills, to keep growing as a person, and to move forward in your career of choice, but it isn’t the end all and be all of life.
It is a means to live. It's how you pay for the lifestyle you want, but you do need to choose a lifestyle that lets you enjoy what you're working hard for. You need goals outside your career, too. Maybe you want to travel, to eat food from different cultures, to buy a house to grow a family, to join memberships, to buy art...
Don't forget to make a life outside the office because your dreams will fuel you when you're running on empty on a stressful work week. You need to feel that there's more to life than just starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.
Work never ends. If you're doing it right, work is never finished. There's always something to change, something to improve, something left for tomorrow, and something to look forward to. Don't box yourself in an old way of thinking that busy is productive. It’s dangerous for you and for the people around you who want to spend quality time. Busy is not inevitable, it’s a choice.
This article originally appeared on NoInk.
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Banner photograph by Matthew Henry via Stocksnap.