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Why Are You Too Busy? The Fuel Behind the Frenzy

If you find that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that you need to, you may be too busy. Have you every thought why? Here we will explore some common underlying (often unconscious) motivators of busy people.

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“I can’t right now, I’m too busy.” “I’ve been so busy lately.” “What a busy day I’ve had.” These are the types of comments you hear and may even say every day. It seems that everyone in our culture is too busy, packing their lives to the brim and wondering why things aren’t going smoothly. It really isn’t a question of “if” you are too busy because the vast majority of people are. Rather it is a question of “why”.

If you want to slow the pace of your life down, challenge yourself today to find out the underlying cause of your busyness. If you can understand why, you can use that information as a key to open the door to a more peaceful life. Some common underlying reasons for being too busy are listed below.

1) You are avoiding something. Your schedule may be packed to the point of overflowing because a full calendar may insulate you from things you’d rather avoid. For example, some parents may lack confidence in their ability to provide effective discipline and structure at home so they sign their children up for every after school activity imaginable to avoid facing this discomfort. Others may have personal or emotional issues that are overwhelming to them and a full schedule eliminates any possible time and space necessary to face those struggles.

2) Chaos is comfortable. You may keep yourself busy because chaos feels better. Maybe you were raised in a chaotic home where there was a lot of yelling, disruptions, and disorder. Down time may make you anxious.

3) Everyone else is doing it. You may look around and see that everyone else is busy so you think you should be too. Somehow your worth and importance has become directly related to how busy you are. Busyness has become a status symbol.

4) You’ve taken over roles that are not yours to take. You may have a need to have things done right (or your version of right). You may be unknowingly assuming the responsibilities that rightfully belong to other people. By hijacking such duties and having difficulty delegating, you overburden yourself unnecessarily.

5) You have a hard time saying no. You may feel guilty if you say no to the requests and needs of those around you. Or maybe you have a hard time saying no to yourself. People who over-indulge in a vice (computer, T.V, shopping, etc.) find that they have squandered precious time and then need to scramble to make it up later. Setting limits may be hard for you.

Do any of these describe you? Maybe there is more than one reason behind your busyness. Take some time right now to honestly reflect on the underlying causes of your busyness. You may even want to ask a friend or loved one to share their insights as well. Once you’ve uncovered the reason why, brainstorm on ways you can successfully unload your burden of busyness.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment from a qualified mental health professional. Cornerstones for Parents is not liable for any advice, tips, techniques, and recommendations the reader chooses to implement.

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About Laura

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura is a licensed clinical social worker who offers individual therapy to women and moms in Connecticut. She is the author of More Than a Conqueror, A Christian Kid's Guide to Winning the War on Worry. Cornerstones for Parents is the place she combines some of the things she is most passionate about: God's word, parenting and mental health.


  • Again – thank you for the reminder. It’s very hard to have to “look in the mirror” and see some of the ugly things that we do. My time should be used in a way that honors God and I can see many ways that it is not being used in the best way. Everyone suffers. I am committing to reviewing and revamping how I use my time.

  • Thanks for those insights. Children do know when their parents are too busy to listen. The number of times a child says, “Mom! Mom!” to a multi-tasking mother is very telling.
    Short of teaching how best to interrupt, an ignoring mom sends a clear message of under- valuing and under-affirming.
    Little hearts go away empty with a strong negative message.

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