Being Booked And Busy Has Some Upsides - But Watch Out For Busyness Becoming Too Much

All of us have the same 24 hours in a day, whether you're working a 9 to 5 or you're Beyonce, that much is true. But how we choose to spend those hours can be drastically different. Some people opt to pack their days with as many activities as possible, while some want to do nothing and practice the art of vegging out.

Some don't even get to enjoy the flexibility of adjusting their schedule how they want it because of factors out of their control. This is especially true for women expected to bear the bulk of household chores and childrearing. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center notes that while men spend more time doing paid labor, women break their backs on unpaid work for more hours. They even get less leisure time, and even then, the quality of their free time is diminished by frequent interruptions. Even employed women often have to do more work outside their pay grade due to weaponized incompetence. They are often expected to perform thankless tasks, which include things like office housekeeping, ordering lunch for the team, and recording minutes at meetings.

With these in mind, busyness can also be a choice. If you have the luxury of having full control of your schedule, you may sometimes get the urge to fill it with activities that take up every minute. Keeping busy and immersing yourself in different engagements can help you remain sharp. But if you overdo it, you may also inadvertently compromise your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships with your partner, friends, and family.

Busyness can sometimes be good for you

Doing nothing is sometimes encouraged, as it allows you to recuperate from the hustle and bustle of daily life and free your mind from your usual worries. But if having excess idle time leads to unnecessary worrying or worse, the development of destructive behaviors, experts recommend shifting your energy to things that can ground you and offer you fulfillment. So yes, busyness is sometimes encouraged. "When we are engaging in healthy busyness, we have the opportunity to stay in our present moment and focus on the here and now," psychologist Dr. Annie Varvaryan told The Zoe Report.

A group of researchers once zeroed in on busyness and whether or not it has positive effects on one's cognition. In a study published on the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, it was found that adults with a tighter schedule reap a number of cognitive benefits, including better memory and enhanced ability to process information. But in addition to being good for your brain, having a busy mindset can also have a positive effect on how you view yourself and the way you make decisions. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research concluded that if people feel that they are busy, the greater the likelihood that they'll make better choices.

According to TLC, Prof. Amitava Chattopadhyay, who led the study, explains, "Every day, we make many decisions that involve choosing between our immediate and future well-being. When we perceive ourselves to be busy, it boosts our self-esteem, tipping the balance in favor of the more virtuous choice."

But it can also has adverse impacts on your health and relationships

Knowing that you're busy can make you feel good, but it may also cause you to keep biting more than you can chew so you can sustain that feeling. And if you start attaching your busyness to your self-worth, the more you'll want to keep tacking on things to your already overloaded schedule. It can get dangerous when you view busyness as a badge of honor or some kind of status symbol that you also start engaging in what is called "busy bragging."

Look, taking pride in your productivity is fine, but you're risking driving yourself to the point of exhaustion, which may then lead to a series of negative consequences like burnout and chronic stress (via Very Well Health). When you're burnt out, you are less likely to remain motivated and productive, and if left unchecked, it can also manifest through physical symptoms, like difficulty in sleeping, weakened immune system, muscle pain, and more. There's also no overstating how it messes with your mental health because burnout can lead to anxiety and depression.

Busyness and burnout can also spill over to personal relationships as well and may cause you to feel detached from your partner, friends, and family. "Relationships take energy, and people who are experiencing job burnout are dealing with physical, psychological, and emotional fatigue," marriage and family therapist Jennifer Chappell Marsh pointed out to The Huff Post.

When to cut down the busyness

Scott Stein, communication expert and author of "Leadership Hacks," told The House of Wellness that you could tell when you're too busy if you find that there's no space in your schedule to so much as think or take a breather, or when you start being an empty shell to do the people around you. "People around you feel like objects. Whether it's at home or at work, people sense you are not present and that you're not actually listening to what people are saying," he said. "They want a connection, but you are skimming the surface."

If you're overworking yourself to avoid dealing with negative feelings, it may also be a sign that you need to scale back. You shouldn't allow busyness to be your main coping mechanism. "Avoided behavior suppresses your unwanted feelings resulting in a buildup of emotions that can manifest into anger, frustration, resentment, isolation, and many other unhealthy mental states," Dr. Cheyenne Bryant, a psychology expert and life coach, explained to PsychCentral. "You can only internalize for so long before it affects your mental and physical health."

If you can help it, refrain from filling your schedule to the brim. Pushing yourself to the limit has detrimental effects, some of which are hard to pull yourself out of. You won't be able to do it overnight, but you can start by learning how to say no, prioritizing downtime, and allotting space for the people you care about. Be kinder to yourself, too. Not always being busy is not the end of the world — and it may give you just the balance you need.