Stepping Stones

Lessons on Intentional Living with Lisa McGrath

Busyness is a Thief: 10 Key Takeaways for Trading Busyness for Intentional Living

intentional living perfectionism
Picture of woman's hands holding coffee cup with a to do list on the table.

Busyness is a Thief

In today's fast-paced society, busyness has become the norm. We live in a world where being busy is often seen as a badge of honor, a sign of productivity and success. However, the constant hustle and bustle can take a toll on our well-being and overall quality of life. Personally, I have experienced the overwhelming feeling of busyness and the negative impact it can have on my physical and mental health. If you have followed me with this blog or on social media, you know about my continued health journey and may have noticed that "busyness" has taken over and some important things, including regular posting, has taken a back seat. As I continue to work through the 'busyness' and perfectionism, I've made more time for writing and posting.

10 Key Takeaways for Trading Busyness for Intentional Living

  • Busyness can steal your time and energy, leaving you feeling drained and overwhelmed.
  • Busyness can have a negative impact on your mental health, leading to anxiety and depression.
  • Stress and burnout caused by busyness can have physical effects on your body, such as headaches and fatigue.
  • Busyness can strain your relationships with others, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Being too busy can actually cost you money in the long run, as you may miss out on opportunities or make poor financial decisions.
  • The idea that being busy equals being productive is a myth, as it's important to prioritize tasks and focus on what's truly important.
  • Prioritization and setting boundaries are key to avoiding the trap of busyness and maintaining balance in your life.
  • Saying no can be a powerful tool in protecting your time and energy, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.
  • Slowing down and finding balance can have numerous benefits, including improved mental and physical health.
  • Busyness can have long-term effects on your future goals and dreams, so it's important to take steps to reduce it and prioritize what truly matters.


The Cost of Being Busy: How Busyness Steals Your Time and Energy

One of the most significant costs of being busy is the loss of time and energy. When we are constantly rushing from one task to another, we often neglect to take care of ourselves and prioritize our well-being. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion and burnout, leaving us drained both physically and mentally. This is something I continue to experience when I neglect my priorities.

I vividly remember a time when I was so caught up in my busy schedule that I missed out on an important family event. I had been working long hours and taking on extra projects, thinking that it would lead to success and recognition. However, in the process, I neglected to make time for the people who mattered most to me. It was a wake-up call that made me realize the true cost of busyness.

The Psychological Toll of Busyness: How it Affects Your Mental Health

Busyness can also have a significant impact on our mental health. The constant pressure to do more and be more can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. When we are constantly rushing from one task to another, we don't give ourselves the time to rest and recharge, leading to increased stress levels.

I remember coaching a client that was juggling multiple personal and professional responsibilities and commitments. She described the constant overwhelm and feeling she was drowning with a never-ending to-do list. The stress became so overwhelming that it started affecting her mental health. She began experiencing panic attacks and struggled with feelings of hopelessness. It was a wake-up call that led her to search for a program that would help her realize the importance of prioritizing her mental well-being over busyness without feeling like she was failing to make progress and achievement towards her goals.

The Physical Effects of Busyness: How Stress and Burnout Impact Your Body

The physical toll of busyness should not be underestimated. When we are constantly on the go, our bodies are under constant stress, which can lead to a variety of physical health problems. Stress and burnout can manifest in symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and digestive issues.

Personally, I know when I am working long hours and neglecting my self-care routine, the stress and lack of sleep start taking a toll on my body. I develop chronic pain and experience frequent bouts of fatigue. It is always a wake-up call that makes me realize the importance of taking care of my physical health and finding balance in my life, the very things I teach others.

The Social Consequences of Busyness: How it Affects Your Relationships

Busyness can also strain our relationships with friends and family. When we are constantly busy, we may neglect to spend quality time with our loved ones or prioritize our relationships. This can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection.

I, too, can get so caught up in a busy schedule that I sometimes neglect to make time for my friends. I can be too exhausted to add additional events to my week or wan to engage in meaningful conversations. As a result, I can often start feeling disconnected from my social circle and realize the importance of nurturing my relationships.

The Financial Implications of Busyness: How it Can Cost You Money

Being too busy can also have financial implications. When we are constantly rushing from one task to another, we may make impulsive decisions or overlook important details, leading to costly mistakes. Additionally, the pressure to keep up with the demands of a busy lifestyle can lead to overspending and financial stress.

I recall a time when I was so overwhelmed with work that I made a costly mistake on a project. The mistake not only cost me financially but also had me questioning my professional goals. It was a wake-up call that made me realize the importance of slowing down and taking the time to stay connected and aligned to my values.

The Productivity Myth: Why Being Busy Doesn't Always Mean Being Productive

Contrary to popular belief, being busy doesn't always equate to being productive. In fact, busyness can often hinder our productivity. When we are constantly rushing from one task to another, we may not have the time or mental clarity to focus on the most important tasks at hand.

Many of my clients are professional women with jam-packed schedules and they are constantly busy. However, before they started working with me, at the end of the day, they realized that they hadn't accomplished anything meaningful; some felt stalled with making progress and weren't achieving their goals. Once they start to question the true value of busyness and the importance of prioritizing tasks, progress can be observed.

The Importance of Prioritization: How to Avoid the Trap of Busyness

To avoid falling into the trap of busyness, it is crucial to prioritize tasks and manage our time effectively. One strategy is to create a to-do list and categorize tasks based on their importance and urgency. By focusing on the most critical tasks first, we can ensure that we are making progress towards our goals without becoming overwhelmed.

Personally, I have found great success in using time-blocking as a prioritization strategy. By allocating specific blocks of time for different tasks or activities, I am able to stay organized and focused. This allows me to make the most of my time and avoid getting caught up in the never-ending cycle of busyness.

The Power of Saying No: How to Set Boundaries and Protect Your Time

Setting boundaries and learning to say no is essential in protecting our time and avoiding unnecessary busyness. It is important to recognize that we cannot do it all and that it is okay to decline commitments that do not align with our priorities or values.

I recall a time when I struggled with saying no and would often take on more than I could handle. However, I soon realized that by saying yes to everything, I was spreading myself too thin and neglecting my own well-being. Learning to say no was a game-changer for me, allowing me to focus on what truly mattered and find balance in my life.

The Benefits of Slowing Down: How to Find Balance and Reduce Busyness

Slowing down and finding balance in our lives can have numerous benefits. When we take the time to rest and recharge, we are better able to show up as our best selves in all areas of our lives. Slowing down allows us to be more present, improve our mental and physical health, and foster stronger relationships. Slowing down truly is a way to live an Intentional Life.

When I prepared for my first Camino experience (500 mile walk across Northern Europe), I made a conscious effort to slow down and prioritize self-care. I incorporating activities such as meditation, exercise, and spending quality time with loved ones into my daily routine. The impact was transformative - I felt more energized, focused, and fulfilled. It was a reminder of the power of finding balance in our lives. My Camino pilgrimage allowed me to develop and increase the strategies and routines that aligned with living intentionally.

The Long-Term Effects of Busyness: How it Can Impact Your Future Goals and Dreams

Busyness can have long-term consequences that extend beyond our immediate well-being. When we are constantly busy, we may miss out on opportunities or fail to pursue our long-term goals and dreams. The constant hustle can prevent us from taking the necessary steps towards achieving our aspirations.

Working towards living an intentional lifestyle doesn't mean we might not get caught up in a busy schedule from time to time or that we don't miss out on an opportunity to pursue a passion project. The regret and disappointment serves as a wake-up call, reminding us of the importance of making time for the things that truly matter. It's important to prioritize tasks, as well as activities and events that enrich our lives.

Busyness has become a prevalent issue in today's society, often leading to negative consequences in various aspects of our lives. The cost of being busy can be significant, stealing our time, energy, and overall well-being. It can have psychological, physical, social, and financial implications that impact our mental health, relationships, and long-term goals.

Remember, to avoid falling into the trap of busyness, it is crucial to prioritize tasks, set boundaries, and say no to unnecessary commitments. Slowing down and finding balance allows us to be more present and focused, leading to improved overall quality of life. By prioritizing our time and finding balance, we can protect our well-being and pursue our goals and dreams with intention and purpose.

If you'd like to learn more about the philosophy of the Indian Proverb A House With Four Rooms, check out my international bestselling book Get Your Copy Here



The life philosophy of A House With Four Rooms suggests thinking of yourself as being four rooms: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual rooms. It advocates for doing something daily for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

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