The Disease of Being Busy

by Sonja van den Bosch

The Disease of Being Busy

“I’m so busy, I’m so busy…have so much going on”.

How many times a day do we hear that from anyone we may ask “How are you?”. And it’s not just the adults. Children’s days are scheduled with so many activities, the days of playing together after school are long gone. In some extreme cases, families are booked months in advance before they have an available “appointment”.

In his article “The Disease of Being Busy” Omid Safi asks: “How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?”

So why are we so busy?

Busyness has become a badge of honour for people to wear: the busier you are, surely the more successful you are? When you stop saying you’re so busy, you set yourself up for slowing down. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your words become your actions, your actions become your habits”. Simply put: doing less, actually creates more—more time, more space, more freedom to be who we truly are.

Technology is partly to blame and the lines between work and home have become blurred. We have too much information and too much pressure. Television, emails, text messages, social media, never-ending notifications pinging on every device you own…….

Every single one of us has things that keep us busy: work, kids, sports, hobbies. In a study of stress and its effects, Dr Michael Marmot, a British epidemiologist (scientists who study diseases within populations of people), found there are two types of busyness. The most damaging is busyness without control, which mostly affects the disadvantaged in our communities, and busyness we control. The latter is the sickness we bring to ourselves. Self-created stress.

The pit-falls

All these distractions take us away from the very root of who we are meant to be. Human beings are designed for connection, actual face-to-face interaction, we are social creatures and yet we ignore our core desires.

If you recognise any of these symptoms you may be suffering the condition “excessive busyness”:

Fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain and weight gain. There are no blood test or x-rays of this condition but it is easy to diagnose!

What is the alternative to Busyness?

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with having goals. It is wise to remember the words of Thomas Sowell “There are no solutions, only trade-offs”. Resources such as time or money, spending some of it on one thing always means not spending it on something else.

Below you’ll find two resources that we’ve designed especially for you.

Start off by implementing one or two of these skills into your daily routine, and you’ll start to notice a massive difference in your ability to connect with those around you.


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  1. I love this Sonja
    It is so true busyness has become Human’s new nature. We forget who we are; humans being – to be human.
    We have lost ourselves in all this busyness.
    sometimes we create it so we can avoid our thoughts and emotions and use it as an excuse for our actions. No wonder the body heart and mind becomes dis-eased, there is no ease in our lives.

    I suggest a good start to slow this process down is by becoming aware of the way you eat:

    *Eat as a singular activity – focus on one thing.
    *Chew your food – take time to mull over life.
    *Notice your food going down – give time to digest and assimilate.

    Quite often the way we eat is the way we move through life

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