I laughed when I read the quote with which today’s meditation began: “The mark of a true workaholic is cleaning house in your underwear.” I’ve been there! It’s so easy for me to get distracted as I work on something by all the other tasks I notice which have to be done as well. This problem plagues me at home and at work. As I clean the house, I rush from room to room noticing more and more that has to be put away and straightened. At work, I stop in the middle of writing a blog post to answer an email or provide support to someone through Facebook. No wonder my work seems endless! I never rest.
“We workaholics can see so many unfinished projects and so many things that need to be done that we are easily distracted. Getting dressed in the morning is not always an easy process. We take our shower, and then we see something that needs to be done. We get our underwear on, and then we see something that needs to be done. It is difficult to focus on the task at hand, and when we do, we see a million other little things that we’ll just tidy up before we get dressed.
Surely we have time to pick up the papers on the way to the kitchen to get our morning coffee. On the way back to the bathroom we can straighten the pillows on the couch. If we put the laundry in now, it can run while we do a quick vacuum.
Is it any wonder that we secretly see ourselves as incompetent? Even though we get a lot of little tasks done, we are so distractible that we jump from one task to another and never have a real feeling of completion. It is helpful to remember that our disease is busyness and distractibility. It is only in recognizing these behaviors as part of a disease and not truly who we are that we open ourselves to the possibility of recovery.”
It’s so true. When we frantically rush from task to task without pausing to finish one thing at a time, we start to feel a bit crazy. I feel not just that my work is never done, but specifically that I can never finish anything! It helps to remember that this is all just part of my disease. I am not an incompetent person with a lack of focus. I am merely distractible as a result of my workaholism and addiction to busyness. I find myself making endless to do lists if I sit still for too long. I can’t sit still most of the time; I must always be doing something. If I would just slow down and take things one at a time, I would feel far better. Calm and peace can only settle if we stay still a moment. As my therapist says, just do the next right thing. When we get ahead of ourselves worrying about everything that we have to do, or the fact that our work will never end, we stress ourselves out. Of course our work will never be done! If it was, we’d either be dead or extremely bored. Either outcome does not seem favorable.