The Sad Truth About Being Too Busy

It’s hard to keep up with life sometimes. Commitments to our families, communities, schools, not to mention volunteer activities; pile up on calendars and spin car odometers. The morning alarm ring starts to resemble the flag drop at the Indianapolis 500.

“And their off!”

At first, having a full plate is exciting. Getting so much accomplished is like winning the premiere race of the day…every day. But after a while, it all just gets overwhelming. And there’s a reason for that: In all the work and movement that’s been scheduled, something got left behind.

In the midst of all the planning, protecting yourself through having strong personal boundaries, somehow didn’t make the list. So on the day goes. There’s so much to do, the day never seems to end. From flag to finish line, there’s simply no time to just take a deep breath. Or be silent. Or meet with a friend. The sad truth is: being too busy, which used to be exciting, now becomes a burden.

But there is a way back. The best way to fight against an energy sapping, over-busy life, is to define some personal boundaries.

Physically, boundaries are easy to see, easy to set up. Things like fences and hedges are all built to do the same thing. They announce “This is where my property begins. This is mine.” Personally and spiritually, it’s a little harder to identify boundaries because you can’t physically see them, or erect them. But they’re just as important as any fence in your backyard.

When you set up personal boundaries, deciding what to do and what to avoid, you are protecting both your time and your heart. When you have healthy limits, your daily burden lightens.

Keeping boundaries in place does take constant vigilance. People will always ask for something, hoping for your time, talent, or advice. It’s so tempting to say yes to everyone, because saying ‘no’ sounds so…unhelpful. But if you say yes every time, the resulting responsibilities will drain your energy. Soon your happy attitude will disappear too, as you begin resenting the work you do, even it’s for a good cause, because you’re tired and over-scheduled. That’s no way to go through life.

The ability to confidently define your boundaries, to decide how much time you have to give, and how much you have to keep, is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Being at peace with your day and with yourself is is a great grace, and it is also a great desire of our hearts.

Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy and balanced way of life, they are also a sign that you respect yourself, and honor your hearts desire.

You have the power to make balanced, life-giving choices in the course of your day. Use that power to lead you to a well-rested, healthy lifestyle, serving your family and community in the best way you can.

And don’t forget that serving the ‘community’ includes you too.


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52 thoughts on “The Sad Truth About Being Too Busy

    • Thank you Debby. It’s good to take some time and review where life it going. I know I can get pretty busy and lose my peace. Not a fun place to be!

      Have a great week,

  1. Oh, what a timely reminder, Ceil! We just returned from a much needed rest at a cabin in the NC mountains. This break from the usual certainly made me think about the commitments I’ve made lately, questioning in my heart how I can do my best to serve without draining the energy required for self-maintenance. You’ve inspired me here to strike that balance in the very best ways I can, as I need to set some parameters regarding this new church committee/vision I’ve agreed to help with.
    Our God is so good!

    • Hi Martha! Welcome back my friend! I have been there with commitments. I always mean well, and think I can do anything (ha!). I think it’s great that you are already mindful of making some boundaries for yourself! I believe that we are much more cheerful givers when we do.

      Sunday blessings,

  2. Well said, Ceil. I am currently reading a book about intentionally putting God in the center of our lives. We let our busyness cloud our relationship with God. Slow down- take a deep breath- be still and KNOW that He is God.
    Blessings, My Friend!

    • Hi Lulu! What’s the name of the book? Do you like it? I’d love to read more about making God the purpose and center of my life.

      I love the image of taking a deep breath. Just being intentional about breathing helps me understand how precious each moment of life is. So why spend so much of it being busy?

      Blessings right back to you πŸ™‚

  3. Boundaries were hard for me to learn. It seems I did too much or not enough and then would over schedule again. I like the last quote in yellow. Really speaks to me profoundly! Enjoy your week! Don’t over-do, haha!

    • Hi Mary! Thanks for your little reminder as you signed off! Lol!

      I think it’s easy for everyone to overdo, it’s so hard to say no. But as you pointed out, it’s a hard lesson, but an important one. I hope we’ll both be successful at balancing this week πŸ™‚


    • Hi Estelle! Welcome back!

      You do more good in a day than most people do in a month. You’re amazing! But I know everyone can benefit from learning how to say no sometimes. Maybe we could practice that together?

      Have a great week my friend,

  4. We were just discussing this tonight with our small group from church. Life keeps getting busier and it is so hard to try to maintain a calmer schedule, but it’s important!

    • Hi Mari! Welcome back! I hope you had a great time with your sisters πŸ™‚

      I think learning how to be good to ourselves, while being good to others is always a hard lesson. I know I had to learn it the hard way, and I can’t say that I’m perfect at it either. But as you said, it’s important, and worth working on.

      Have a peaceful night,

  5. This is a great post – very wise words. I needed to read this.Thank you for this timely reminder. My life is crazy busy right now, and I need to back off and slow down. Thank you again and have a great week. God bless you!

    • Hi Deb! How nice of you to stop by tonight, I haven’t seen you here in a long time. I can totally relate to the crazy busy stuff, I always wonder how I managed to get there (again!) sometimes. Trying to maintain a good balance is a life-long work in progress don’t you think?

      I hope your life can slow down soon, so you can feel more at peace.
      Have a restful night,

    • Hi Victor! Good one! Yet I know that I really appreciate your blog friendship, knowing how busy you are as a writer and author too.

      God bless your Monday with his peace and grace,

  6. Wise words here, Ceil! I have definitely had times when the busyness has got out of control. Setting boundaries is so important.
    PS- I’ve nominated you for a blogger award! If you’d like to take part you can find details on my post, but absolutely no pressure- I just want you to know that I appreciate you!

    • Hi Lesley! I think being too busy is something everyone has struggled with from one time to another.

      Thank you for your nomination, that’s so kind of you! I’ll come on over and have a look πŸ™‚

      Have a blessed day,

  7. Such a timely message, Ceil. This is the busy season of β€œI have to” parties and shopping and not resting…pfft…it is good to remember it is ok say no. We do have to guard our time. I love your line about including ourselves in the community too!


    Hit the spot!


    • Hi Sandi! I didn’t even think about ‘busy’ and ‘Christmas’ but boy, are you right. I do find that I pressure myself to make the season and the holiday go well according to tradition and expectations. That’s a big trap for getting run down and anxious.

      Thank you for your kind words about the post today, I really appreciate your support.

  8. Wow! This post is chock full of SO much wisdom. Thank you for sharing what God placed upon your heart, my friend. I NEEDED this. I never take this into account when “trying to do the right thing”, and more than once, (like right NOW), I end up SO physically exhausted, drained, and spent. Thank God, I have a very wise husband who does take me into account, and who recently put his foot down and said “enough”. How I praise God for him. Thank you for letting me know that it is okay to protect my own interests…for this affirmation of what my dear husband has been trying to do and say. God abundantly bless you both! Sending big hugs to you today!!

    • Hi Cheryl! It does take a fresh set of eyes sometimes, doesn’t it? Your husband is such a great guy, and a good partner who sees that you are overdoing. What at blessing that is, and I know you know that.

      I have to learn to practice peace and balance each day, and I know that many are no different. We’re both lucky we have such wonderful husbands who help us out with that!
      Wishing you peace and joy my friend,
      PS Still praying for you and yours too.

  9. I’m a huge boundaries fan, Ceil, so I LOVED this post! You’re so right that figuring out what these should look like and how to enact them isn’t always easy. What’s especially hard is when people don’t burst into applause when they find out we mean business.

    Especially if we’re people pleasers.

    *sigh *

    Great stuff here, friend!

    • Hi Linda! I’m sure boundaries is a theme you discussed a lot in your practice. And I really had to laugh at your words about people not clapping for them, that’s so true! Everyone asks, and most expect that we’ll say yes.

      Figuring out the boundary thing will be a work in progress for me for my lifetime. But it’s worth it for my mental health, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for your kind words about the post too,

  10. Another awesome article, Ceil, and such good advice for the fast-paced lifestyle we’ve created for our lives. “Just keep swimming” (Nemos sweet friend’s Dory’s advice) gets exhausting πŸ™‚ Bravo to you!

    • Hi Diane! Love that reference to the Finding Nemo/Dory movies. It sounds wonderful to keep on going, but you know, sometimes that’s just not the best plan.

      Only you know when you’re overwhelmed, people who ask things of us don’t. Saying no might sound unhelpful, but it can really help save your sanity!

      Thank you for coming by Diane, it’s always fun to see you here!

  11. Such wisdom here, Ceil. Especially helpful for this time of year when we may be tempted to put “God” at the end of busy to-do lists. It’s so tempting this time of year to get wrapped up in busyness instead of celebrating the real Reason for the season. Thank you. Love and hugs to you!

    • Hi Trudy! I never thought of the coming Christmas season when I wrote this post, but you’re right, it really fits right in there. We all put so much on our plates, it’s amazing how we cope.

      Learning to say ‘no’ or just not jump in when the tank is already on ‘full’ is wisdom in action. It might look uncharitable at the time, but it can be the greatest charity of all to ourselves.

      Love and hugs right back my friend,

  12. Hi Ceil! Your post is timely for so many (but not me) during this holiday season. Setting boundaries in all areas of life is important; many individuals seem to not know or have forgotten it. There’s a series of books about setting boundaries (I’ve not read them)–one of the authors’ last name is Cloud. Healthy relationships need boundaries.

    Have a blessed week,


    • Hi Kim! I’m glad you have the boundary thing figured out, that’s a real gift. I think I’ll be working on balancing most of my life! I guess I like to say ‘yes’ way too much.

      Thank you for passing along the author’s name on the setting boundaries subject. Maybe I should do a little research πŸ™‚

      Have a great week too Kim,

    • Hi Michelle! How fun to see you here! Thanks for reading and commenting too.

      I’m glad you liked the post. I think being busy is a theme we all struggle with, and as others have pointed out, it helps to be reminded of that before the Christmas rush.

      Have a wonderful day my friend πŸ™‚

  13. Hi Ceil, I don’t know if I can leave a comment anymore because I have shut down my emails due to hacking, and comments don’t appear to go through without an email.

    • Hi Brenda! I got both of your comments, so they are going through. The only person who sees your email submission is me, so don’t worry about using an old address. If I get to hear from you that way, I’m all for it!

      I’m so sorry about your email problems though. Technology is a wonderful thing when it works, and such a pain when it doesn’t.

      Thank you for letting me know about your email issue,

    • Hi Jen! That’s cute, I like that! And I think you have mined the wisdom of busyness, because if you are exhausted, you’ll have no energy for yourself or others.

      The wise man makes sure he’s healthy first.

      Have a peaceful evening my friend,

  14. You final truth that serving the community includes us is one that I seem to have the most difficulty with. I am learning that if I’m not healthy and whole I will not be my best to serve others in whatever capacity.

    I find at this stage of my life that I am making better choices at picking and choosing how I spend my time. It should consist of things that fill me up and not drain me. Little by little I’m getting better at filling my calendar in this way. Blessings and hugs friend!

    • Hi Mary! I often think that we look outward to serve, forgetting completely about ourselves. That’s not a great idea, because we’re tired and overstressed, we can’t serve anyone else.

      I do think experience is a great teacher, so I’m not surprised that you find yourself being better at managing your time. I feel the same way, although I can still get into trouble at times. Constant vigilance…that’s the way to keep balanced.

      Thank you for coming by!

  15. I love this! I’m all about Breathing Spaces where boundaries also come into play. And then these breathing spaces give us more room to hear, see, feel–use our senses in abundance and serve our community as God intended. Your last line sums up so much!

    • Hi Lynn! That’s a wonderful thought Lynn. Giving ourselves the time and space to breathe and look inward is really a life-saver in this busy world. Being active and engaged has to be balanced with being silent and unplugged!

      Have a peaceful evening,

  16. Boundaries are difficult to establish. Once we establish them we have to maintain them. I can easily spot a person who has no boundaries. They are the ones who say the stupidest and the most offensive things.

    • Hi Cecelia! I so agree with the idea of keeping boundaries firm. Once I start to slide, it doesn’t take long and I’m overwhelmed, and I’ve been there so many times before.

      Have a wonderful weekend Cecelia!

  17. Very applicable post for me!!
    God has brought new experiences and challenges into my life and while I thought 2017 was busy, 2018 will be FAR busier. While I’m excited for the new opportunities to serve Him and others, I must be careful to not overextend myself. I’m praying now about boundaries. What to let go of, what to say “no” too…it’s hard. I want to do it all!
    But I can’t. One thing I am going to have to let go of is blogging/writing. I felt this past year the need to cut back to once a month blogging and I hoped that would allow me to work on my next book. But that didn’t happen.
    Now, I am putting blogging and writing even more out of bounds as I accept new challenges God has presented me with. New opportunities that I am excited to do. Writing is such a huge part of me, but God is showing me that it’s not part of this season in my life. I trust He will bring it back to me. Right now, He has other things for me to do and people I need to serve.
    All that being said, I will miss your blog. I pray I will have time next year to stop by every now and then and perhaps to even write a blog post of my own.
    New adventures await!
    I pray you will have a happy holiday season.
    God bless you and your family.
    Thank you for writing this post. It encouraged me.

    • Wow TC…you are truly on a new path, and I can ‘hear’ the excitement and nerves in your words. I know that he will reward you for your obedience, and what he has planned is always better.

      I can’t wait to hear about your new experiences, please let me know when you blog, no matter how far apart. God bless you abundantly as you strike out, like Abraham, in acceptance and obedience. Those are a powerful duo.

      Blessings always,

  18. I like the parallel that you drew between a race car driver in today’s busy world. It is so easy to think that being on the race track is where you need to be but you made the point that you can only handle that for so long. I think so many are on the treadmill of life, and don’t know how to get off but you have defined it very correctly in that you’ve got to set boundaries by putting God, yourself and your family first and then fitting in what else you can. It is easy to get too much on the plate and hard to take it off. Very good words and thoughts for consideration today!

    • Hi Marilyn! I know I do feel like I’m in a big race on some days, just running from one thing to another. Our society is built for speed, and really, we aren’t. Boundaries just keep getting more and more important as we have to defend our peace and energy.

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. I really cherish them.
      Blessings on your weekend,

  19. great reminder, especially your last sentence. I think we get addicted to the adrenalin rush of being busy. I know I want to create more boundaries especially for not working in the evening and on Sundays. there I wrote this out – now to make it happen

    • Hi Jean! I hope you can accomplish your goals! I remember when I decided to take Saturdays off from blogging. It seemed like such a big thing to do, but now, it’s just a part of my week. It’s funny what I got so used to doing, and yet could stop when it was time.

      Hope you have a peaceful and relaxing weekend Jean,

  20. Oh Ceil, this is SO important. I have gotten better at this through the years. It’s still a challenge when there are so many others in need- especially my kids! But my body and mind and soul come first now. Thank you for this reminder and encouragement, my friend.

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