Wednesday, May 25, 2016

8 Reasons We Overbook

I don't mean double book. Just packing too much in one day.

The day after promising to post daily for a week or more, my schedule is ridiculous and I think, How will I fit this in?

How does this happen? Why?

You take on new patients, that's how. And if it is a marital therapy, you probably want to see them twice that first week, not once. Maybe three times. That's how some of us do it. How one of us does it.

But it isn't only therapists who can't resist adding more to an already full workload.

Let's take a look at the reasons we over-schedule, take on more than we probably should.
Feel free to add thoughts. This is a short-list.

Why We Overdo It 

1. We can't say No.

So many reasons we can't say no.

fear of rejection,
fear someone will be angry with us,
fear we won't be included next time, will be left out,
wanting to be the go-to person
for starts.
Some see it as a weakness, call it co-dependent, others admire such strong emotional attachment.
Where would we be without people who can't say no?

2. There's an ethnic, and quintessential American world view, that it is good to get things done, to accomplish a lot.  The idle mind is the devil's playground, you know.

The thinking is that this is what being alive is all about, doing things, helping other people, providing for ourselves and our families, even having fun, or not having fun, but contributing to a community.

We burn out sometimes, we get grumpy, but it is back to it the next day, dysfunctional though it might be when the stress is too much and the spouse or kids get the brunt of it. That's a sign, you know, that the world view needs to change.

3. We LIKE being busy

There's a certain energy level that some people just have, and it has to go somewhere. We can work on subduing that, or we can go jogging, fly a kite, compulsively do dishes or clean the baseboards, whatever those are.

4. We need the money.

There's not much money in doing nothing, so most of us try to work, and get the most for the effort. Adding an extra shift, an extra patient, a second, third, or fourth part-time job, makes financial sense most of the time, pays down the credit card. It isn't greed. It is necessity.

But it can be greed. Either way, workaholics seem to think they need it.

5. We can avoid intimacy 

Too busy, too tired, both valid, great excuses. (Workaholics are often accused of this, but it isn't just people who work all of the time that we're talking about, but those of us who always have something to do, anything but take the proverbial "nap."

That's when it's about avoiding intimacy.

Part of being busy, if busy is to be functional, is fitting in time to have our needs for intimacy met, and the needs of our partners, regardless of our schedules.

There's are other posts on this blog about intimacy avoidance, check them out.  But it could be as simple as an aquarium emergency. You can't let your fish die, you know.

6. We're just getting started in this world, learning how to live

Doing is becoming, growing, adding to who we are. I'm a person who . . .
We're who we were yesterday, and today we're that person (unless we don't want to be) who identifies with a new skill, a new activity. This builds identity.

As young people we're not all encouraged to garden, or even pull weeds in the yard, for example, or to learn instruments, or learn any other hobby, thing that calls to us, makes us want to get off our duffs and do.  But then, as adults some of us get a defining moment, and suddenly, the thought of playing piano, or taking singing lessons, even going back to school or working part-time is inspiring, irresistible.

Because at any age, if we look at it right, we're just getting started.

7. There's less focus in aging

As we age, some of us find our minds wandering, wanting to do more, not less. Maybe it is because we realize we don't have that much time left, but the brain is certainly on the move. The body wants to slow down, but the mind says No. (We're ruling out a manic episode, but it feels that way.)

Work that once satisfied isn't enough, it is boring but it pays the bills, so presented with an option, for example, of saying yes to becoming, say, a member of the board, or taking on a speaking engagement, or even coaching T-ball, we say YES.
Even if, at the end of the day, we would rather eat and watch TV.

8. Multi-tasking can become addictive, especially for feel-good tasks

Some of us are gifted with the ability to multi-task, need to multitask, will plan another task even as we're busy doing something else. Some of us can do two to three things at once.

We can be at a Little League game and listen to a MLB (Major League Baseball) on our phones, and we see nothing weird about this at all. Or go to a meeting and surreptitiously check the scores. It is the pleasure principal. We do what feels good.

Take that thought, or any of the others above, add your own, and before long, you're over-booked.

Not that you don't like it that way.

So yeah, adding too many patients to the day could be due to anything. But some of us, if we commit to something, will probably get it done, manage to get everything done,  too, if not perfectly.

It is why they say:
If you want something done, give it to a busy person.
And the crazy thing is, these people don't even pat themselves on the back.

Now. Why is it that some people don't overdo it, or don't even try to accomplish very much?

It isn't, despite what your momma and papa told you, about being lazy.


1 comment:

clairesmum said...

Living in the Bay area for the past 2 years, as a native New Englander, the busyness out here seems often to be directed to outside sports/recreation, not so much towards community engagement and civic benefit. Maybe just as a transplant I don't fully appreciate the nuances here, but folks seem more self absorbed. Maybe it's just me.
Your summary of all the reasons/purposes of staying busy is a good one. A period of unemployment for me due to moving was a struggle. And now my spouse is involuntarily unemployed...a scary prospect when you have gray hair here in the land of youth and innovation....

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