Lifestyle & Parenting

Busyness Dependency: How To Break The Cycle

May 31, 2023

For individuals who believe that being busy is the only way to feel productive or successful, the feeling of constantly being on the go, jumping from one task to another, and never having enough hours in the day may indicate that they have busyness dependency. This behaviour is characterized by a consistent need to stay busy, even when it is not necessary. People who have a dependency to be busy all or most of the time often feel that their self-worth is tied to their productivity and the number of tasks they complete. As a result, they tend to overload their schedules, neglect their physical and mental health, and experience stress and burnout. Why does this happen? Busyness dependency can happen for several reasons. Some people may feel pressure from societal expectations to constantly be productive or successful. Additionally, with the rise of technology and instant communication, it can be easy to feel like we need to be available and responsive at all times, leading to a constant state of busyness. What can be done? As a leading expert on work-life integration and peak performance, Dr. Rumeet Billan has a wealth of knowledge and insights to share. We spoke with her to learn more. —Vita Daily

What is busyness dependency?

Busyness dependency refers to a mindset in which individuals develop a need to stay constantly busy. It is characterized by a relentless drive to fill every moment with tasks and activities, even when it maynot be necessary or beneficial. People with busyness dependency often believe that their self-worth is tied to their productivity and the number of tasks they can complete. Those who struggle with busyness dependency may feel restless or anxious when they have free time, and may constantly seek out new tasks or responsibilities to avoid feeling idle. They tend to overload their schedules, neglect their own well-being, and push themselves to the point of exhaustion and burnout. This dependency on busyness can have negative effects on their physical and mental health, as well as on their relationships and overall quality of life.

Why does this happen?

Busyness dependency occurs due to a combination of factors, including societal pressures, personal beliefs, and individual tendencies. Societal expectations: In many cultures, there is a societal belief that being busy and productive is equated with success and worthiness. People may internalize these expectations and feel pressured to constantly prove their value through busyness. Fear of missing out (FOMO): With the rise of social media and constant connectivity, there is a fear of missing out on opportunities or falling behind others. This fear can drive individuals to fill their schedules with activities, afraid that if they take a break, they will miss out on something important. Validation and self-worth: Some individuals tie their self-worth to their productivity and accomplishments. They believe that by constantly being busy and achieving a high volume of tasks, they are proving their value and significance. The validation they receive from others for being busy can further reinforce this belief Avoidance and distraction: For some individuals, staying busy can be a way to avoid uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, or challenging situations. By constantly keeping themselves occupied, they can distract themselves from underlying issues or difficult introspection. Perfectionism and high standards: People with perfectionistic tendencies may feel a constant pressure to excel in all areas of their lives. This drive for perfection can lead to a never-ending pursuit of busyness, as they strive to meet unrealistic standards and accomplish more and more. It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with busyness dependency can vary, and these reasons may not apply to every individual. Understanding the underlying causes can help individuals gain awareness and take steps towards a healthier relationship with busyness and self-worth.

What can be done?

Overcoming busyness dependency requires a conscious effort to prioritize well-being, set boundaries, and adopt healthier perspectives on productivity. Reflect on values and priorities: Take time to reflect on what truly matters to you. Identify your core values and prioritize activities and commitments that align with those values. This can help you focus on meaningful tasks and let go of unnecessary busyness. Set realistic goals and boundaries: Learn to set realistic goals and avoid over committing yourself. Set boundaries by saying “no” to tasks and activities that do not align with your priorities or contribute to your well-being. Delegate tasks when possible and ask for support when needed. Challenge the belief of constant busyness: Recognize that your self-worth is not solely dependent on being busy or productive. Embrace the idea that rest and relaxation are essential for overall success and happiness. Remind yourself that it is okay to take breaks and prioritize your well-being. Manage time effectively: Develop effective time management skills to make the most of your time. Prioritize tasks, create a schedule that allows for breaks and downtime, and learn to delegate or eliminate non-essential tasks. Avoid multitasking, as it can lead to inefficiency and increased stress. Practice self-care: Make self-care a priority. Set aside time for relaxation, leisure activities, and hobbies that bring you joy and rejuvenate your energy. Engage in activities that promote physical and mental well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness, and spending time in nature.


  1. nonya

    June 2nd, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Use a better font, this one is very difficult to read.

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