Too-busy beavers bite off more than they can chew


The United States of America is the only nation that has a national monument called Mount Rushmore. It makes sense, because all we do here in America is rush more.

We’re high volume. We’ve got information overload from all the emails, texting, social media, so on and so forth.

Being busy reminds me of eating out at a restaurant and getting full. Then when the waitress comes around with the dessert menu, we rub our belly and say, "Sure. I'll take a slice of the cheesecake." But why!?

Why are we not content with what we can handle? We always tend to go above and beyond, and we’re always reaching out for more.

Why do we take on more work when we're already neck deep in stress? I'm absolutely guilty of doing this. I get so busy sometimes, that I can’t even sit down to finish a bowl of oatmeal.

If being an overachiever means that my steamy bowl of oatmeal gets cold and left behind, then maybe I'm doing something wrong.

After all, being busy was something that I openly invited and welcomed into my life. As a child, I was shown that being busy was a good thing. It was a positive notion and clear indication of being a productive person.

My dad was a busy man. I used to ride around with him to his many business meetings. We’d go up and down elevators. We’d walk in and out of offices.

I remember once walking into the largest PR firm in Dallas, going up to the 60th floor, and it felt like I was on top of the world.

I was up there with all the suit-and-tie wearing sky dwellers. It felt like I entered into the realm of success.

Now obviously, that wasn’t the top of world. There were many floors above me and when I took my eyes off of the view, I was actually quite disappointed with what I saw.

It was all an illusion, much like when the Wizard of Oz had his true identity revealed. I pulled back the curtain and what I unveiled was a 60th floor full of stress.

Being successful and having a ton of money doesn’t make you bullet proof from stress. If anything, I think the people who are successful sacrificed a whole lot of their life to get to that point.

Then again, we all define success differently. Tom Petty once said, "Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I'm concerned, that's success."

Sometimes we’re busy chasing what we believe is success. Other times, we’re just flat out busy. The other day County Judge Administrative Assistant Pam Harris told me, “You’re a busy little beaver.”

True statement. Here’s how this busy little beaver dams up the raging river of stress. I have two small wood chips of advice:

1. When in doubt, leave it out.

If you know you’ve got a full plate, then you most likely won’t have an appetite by the time you get around to the cheesecake you added at the last minute.

Stick to a full plate of ideas and projects that you know you can handle. Don’t destroy yourself by going above and beyond. Anything past what you can handle will bring you unnecessary stress.

Superman wouldn’t eat cheesecake off a kryptonite plate. Identify that additional work is often served on a kryptonite plate. Don’t take it! It will completely wipe out all of your superhuman strength.

2. Slow down James Brown!!

I wish I could credit that quote, but I only heard it in passing. That’s the best advice I could offer anyone who is drowning in stress.

Take an Internet break before the Internet breaks you. I know it’s hard to do, because the office is in our hands now. Smartphones have placed our nine-to-fives in our sweaty little palms with texting and emailing.

Trust me I know. My cell phone is my Bat Signal, and everyday Gotham City needs saving. However, I’ve learned that I can take off my cape when I need to. There are other superheroes out there that can save the day.

If I’m going to be a busy bee, then I want to produce my newspaper nectar efficiently. If I’m going to be a busy little beaver, then I’m not going to chip a tooth trying to chew through a tree that’s not worth gnawing on.

To all the other busy little beavers out there: Don’t work too hard - work smart!