Why Are We Obsessed With Being Busy?

Why are we obsessed with being busy? It's become an expectation of us to always be busy, always be doing more and not being able to stop and just enjoy life

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If you were to describe your life right now how many of you would use busy as an adjective? People are always asking us ‘How are you’ and often our response is something along the lines of ‘not too bad… I’ve been busy though.’ It’s almost like we say it because we feel it is expected of us.

But why are we so obsessed with being busy?

As I am moving on through my adult years, I have noticed that there is an obsession with needing to be doing something, always. When was the last time you just sat and did nothing? Taking time out to just stop is a ‘treat’ we aspire to do but rarely ever make the time for.

Why are we obsessed with being busy? It's become an expectation of us to always be busy, always be doing more and not being able to stop and just enjoy life

I’m guilty of it too… I have such a massive to do list everyday that I feel like I’m not doing enough if I stop. When anyone asks me ‘what did you get up to today’ I feel like I need to report my list of tasks completed like they are achievements that make me worthy of my life. Surprisingly, it’s even more prevalent on my days off work. It’s like I have this mindset that if I’m not out working then I need to be doing more at home… and it’s a mindset I have created myself.

As a parent we feel like we need to constantly be either cleaning the house, meal prepping, grocery shopping, creating Pinterest worthy craft activities, taking the kids to soccer, netball, dance, swimming, karate, tutoring, art classes, music lessons…. It doesn’t end. Then we feel we have to talk about how busy we have been and all that we have achieved on social media so others know we are good parents.

In our jobs there has been a shift from doing less and doing it well to having to do it all… now. As a society we have never worked more hours in a week than what we do now. And are we happier for it? What happens when you complete all your tasks at work? (I know some people are laughing because for some, it is impossible to complete everything). Our list of things to do doesn’t end… it just keeps getting bigger.

There are even quotes we can use to support our obsession with busy. Dianne Ackerman said ‘I don’t want to get to the end of my life to find I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.’ We strive to jam pack more and more into each and every day… but what are we missing in the process?

We want it all… we want the big house, the fancy car, the Pinterest perfect life. We work so hard to achieve our goals that sometimes, we miss the perfect enough life we have at the moment.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for more – if there’s something you want to chase after in your life then work darn hard until you get it.

What I am trying to say is that we don’t have to be constantly doing, achieving, chasing, working, pushing, trying, rushing…

I’m calling it a day on being busy. I am banishing that word from my adjective vocabulary and I’m no longer going to use it to describe how I am or how my day has been.

I’m going to strive to be okay with taking time out to stop.

I’m going to be okay with having less on my to do list and more time to just stop and relax.

I’m going to focus on the importance of the present instead of only focusing on everything I want to achieve in the future.

Because busy isn’t making us happy. Busy isn’t allowing us to spend more time with our children who grow so fast it makes my head spin. Busy doesn’t allow us to focus on our marriage or on our relationships. Busy doesn’t allow us to prioritise ourselves.

I am going to replace busy with efficient. I’m going to plan my days to make sure I have time for the little things, time to read books with my son, time to stop and cuddle my gorgeous man, time to call my mum. I’m not going to be busy, I’m going to be efficient and I’m going to get things done.

So I challenge you to think about your life, think about what busy means for you and if busy is making you happy – and if it’s not, I dare you to just stop. Be efficient. Get things done. And let go of busy.


    1. That’s so true. It’s like a status symbol – if we aren’t busy we aren’t doing enough. When people have been asking how I’ve been lately instead of saying ‘busy’ I’ve been saying ‘happy’. So many people seem surprised by this response.

  1. I struggle with this as well, especially now that I’m not working in an office. “What do you do all day?” surely puts a little pressure on you.

  2. Great post – why ARE we so obsessed with being busy? I know I’m guilty of it too at times and based on my experience, it’s easier to be busy than to figure out what you want. Usually I’m busiest when I’m feeling unfulfilled and I doubt that’s a coincidence.

  3. Oh, I’ve been wanting to write this exact blog post, (but … you know, I’ve been too busy. ;o).
    Well said. This is a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Kudos to you for sharing it. I’m going to try to remove “busy” from my vocabulary too.

    1. Thank you so much. It has been really difficult to remove the word ‘busy’. I didn’t even realise how much I was using it… now it sounds like a curse word to me and I cringe when I hear it. It really does make a big difference.

    1. Shan, it’s really difficult to remove ‘busy’ from your vocabulary… I’ve been trying it and I find I feel less guilty when I say I’ve had a lazy morning or that I didn’t do much at work. It’s a nice change!!

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