There are different types of busyness in my mind. The first category is the busyness that is 'self-imposed'. Busyness that I choose - knowing that it will make me busy but I have control over the choice. I cope the best with this kind of busyness. This includes commitments that are energising even if they fill up a lot of my time (eg. work/uni study). I can also choose to add to or reduce this type of busyness fairly easily - the control is significant in the way I'm impacted by this busyness I suspect.
Another category is the 'shoulds' - things I should do because I feel they are the right thing to do with my time. They aren't as energising, even though I do have some control over them. It often involves pushing myself to do things that I'd more easily avoid, but need to happen. Sometimes, the things on the 'should' list are the things that get lost when I get busy.
The other category I think of is the 'imposed' category. I have little choice about these things. They just need to happen. This involves a lot of things that the children do. I always start the year with my grand plans (we're going to slow down, do less etc etc) but as the term goes on and the list of events at school grows, the grand plans fast disappear.
A good example of imposed busyness was when I turned up for the first day of term 3 last year. I arrived at school feeling good about the term, our diary finally was looking reasonably clear and life was feeling manageable. By the time I'd left the school assembly and heard about the 3 band competitions the kids had been entered into, I saw my lovely clear calendar disappear before my eyes. I may have audibly groaned, which other parents find very strange, because they're just seeing all the wonderful opportunities for the children. I'm just seeing a logistical nightmare and an increase in my stress levels (can you sense it's all about me?!).
It all gets hard when I feel like the first category (self-imposed busyness) has to get ditched/reduced to make way for the other categories. It's not that doing lots for the kids or the 'shoulds' on my list is a bad or horrible thing at all - but without something to energise me I find myself getting a bit sad. When the kids were all younger my life was very dominated by the 'imposed' and 'should' category and I felt consistently very flat. I'm guessing this is how people feel when their whole life is dominated by caring for a sick child or an elderly parent. It's not that in their heart they mind doing it - it's a 'should' that is the right thing to do - but managing the stress of something you have no control over is tough.
Anyway - that's enough rambling for now. Would love to hear your thoughts on this one.