The Big Nine! Nine real reasons you’re always too busy.


Let’s face it, life has busy moments. Whether it be a bunch of family obligations, a set of tight deadlines for work, finals week for school, or just a long to-do list, we all find ourselves in crunches from time to time. What does vary from person to person though is how frequently this happens. When you are somebody like me, busy is a phenomenon that only happens rarely, but for others it can be a constant. There’s always something that needs to get done or dealt with, and you feel like you’re running out of gas to keep up.

What many people don’t realize is that how consistently busy you are isn’t determined by random factors in your life. There are actually specific reasons you could be too busy in life, and with some effort and time they can be dealt with. Many of these reasons feed into each other, but there are NINE BIG ONES you want to consider.


Perfectionism is probably one of the biggest causes of being too busy. When you are a perfectionist you wind up spending huge amounts of time trying to make things flawless. While this can be a source of pride for people, it also comes with a cost. Many times you’ll find yourself perfecting things that nobody actually cares about, or might even be better if it was a little messy. The result is a lot of wasted, unnoticed work.

Needing control

This is can exist on its own or be an extension of perfectionism. In the case of perfectionism, you don’t trust other people to do their job well enough. You either wind up constantly hovering over them fixing their work or you just wind up doing their work for them.

If you are not a perfectionist, you may still feel a need for control. You constantly want to manage your environment so it’s predictable and easy to manage. The problem is that life is naturally chaotic, and so you spend hours trying tame the untameable. When you do successfully make plans, something small causes them to derail, and you find yourself stressed and re-planning everything all over again.

Not setting boundaries

If you are a caregiver, this is probably what eats most of your time. You find yourself regularly facing people who ask for your help, and you are never able to say no. Over time, people will become overly dependent on you, and you become the go-to person for all things. Soon, you regularly find yourself confronted with a line of people at your door all asking you to fix a problem. Eventually so much of your time is devoted to others that you have none for yourself, not to mention none of the people you help learn how to deal with problems on their own.

Failing to care for yourself

When we’re tired, hungry, sick, stressed, overworked, etc. we don’t function as well. You may remember me discussing this in a prior article. Your body is a tool, and when you fail to care for it, it becomes blunt and horribly inefficient. Not to mention liable TO BREAK! Failure to care for yourself often results in more time sick and more time working because things take twice as long to do when you aren’t at your best.

Caring too much about what others think

When you become overly concerned with the opinions of others, you spend more time fretting. You are more likely to be a perfectionist, because someone perfect can’t be judged. You’ll also spend more time at the whims of others. If you think wasting 3 hours doing something you don’t enjoy will make somebody like you, there’s a good chance you might wind up doing it. This is bad, because in many cases all this does is make you seem like a people-pleaser instead of giving the positive impression you want.

Stress addiction

Yes, believe or not, you can be addicted to stress. When stress activates the autonomic nervous system, it causes a variety of chemicals to be released. One of the chemicals released in the body is Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes the sensation of pleasure. All forms of addiction involve the some form of behavior that generates or releases Dopamine in your system.

If you are addicted to stress, the issues are obvious. You need constant drama and tension going on, to feel emotionally alive. This typically results in complex and busy schedules to increase the ongoing tension in your life.


Many times the tendency to be busy is actually driven by ego. Many people develop the belief that being busy is a sign of importance and status. When this is the case, people will adopt a busy schedule, mostly because they want to feel good about themselves. Ideally, it’d be better to learn to love yourself more and recognize you don’t need an complex schedule to be important.

The “not enough gremlin”

This is the big daddy of causes when it comes to being busy.

The “not enough gremlin” is an evil little creature. When people struggle with feelings of inadequacy, feeling that nothing they ever do is enough, they form a “not enough gremlin”, a sort of inner critic that constantly nags at you and guides all your actions.

When you have a “not enough gremlin”, it whispers in your ear, telling you everything you do is inadequate, that nothing you do is worthy of attention or praise.  This feeling then pushes you to do more, so that you can feel worthy. Unfortunately, as soon as you do more, the gremlin just continues its job, and whispers more criticisms. It points out all the flaws in your work, all the places it could have been better, all the ways you could have done a little more. This results in you constantly filling your schedule with more and more to do in order to feel more accomplished and finally worthy of adequacy. In other words, if you have the “not enough gremlin”, you’re going to be very busy, and very frustrated.

Image provided by Petr Kratochvil via

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