The Seven Levels of Busy

What is your typical level, and is your company helping you staff or scale your role properly?

  • Level 1: NOT BUSY
  • Level 2: STUFF TO DO
  • Level 4: AT CAPACITY

0 voters

Level 1: NOT BUSY My schedule is wide open. I can choose infinite paths. Zero commitments. The weekend. I sleep like a baby. Life is good, but am I living my best life?

Level 2: STUFF TO DO I have a few commitments wandering around my brain. They are reasonable, knowable, and not deadline-based. I can keep track of everything in my head.

Level 3: SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENTS I have enough commitments that I need to keep track of them in a tool because I can no longer organically triage. My calendar is a thing I check infrequently, but I do check it to remind myself of the flavor of this particular day.

Level 4: AT CAPACITY My to-do and my calendar are full. I frequently have to make “What is more important?” decisions to help me figure out where to invest my time. There is no unscheduled time, but I continue to feel on top of things. Inbox zero maintained.

Level 5: CRACKS IN THE FACADE I tell myself I’m on top of all the things, but there are early signs of excessive work. This is when Inbox Zero fails. I know daily surprises could be avoided if I had… just a bit more time. I start saying “I’m sorry” a lot. Stuff isn’t getting dropped, but execution becomes sloppy.

Level 6: CRUSHING COMMITMENTS The incoming amount of things are beyond my ability to triage them. Change is constant. Just saying “No” to inbound things is not enough. Stuff is falling on the floor, and I’m not noticing. Work hours spill into life hours. Tired.

Level 7: UNSUSTAINABLE I live minute to minute. Eating and other necessities are shoved in-between things, but eating and other necessities are frequently neglected. To-do lists do not help me here because I do not have time to maintain them. My calendar changes from hour to hour. It is clear by how I walk how busy I am. I get a lot of unintentional “He’s screwed” looks. Zero work-life balance. This is not sustainable.


I think I make unconscious decisions to try to keep myself “at capacity”.

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I swing between levels 2-3-4-5 at different times. It’s never just one of them all the time.

IDK what to vote. Right now I am at a 4. I am rarely at a 2. Most frequently at a 3-4.


I think you have a confounding variable in that anyone who is here looking at your post is not likely to be in the highest levels… :upside_down_face:



Anyone above 4 wouldn’t be reading these forums unless they had an urgent post of their own. Certainly not an off topic poll


Right now about 3.2, typically somewhere between 3 and 4.

Im often on the forums, hiding from reality. When I am burned out, I will spend hours on the forums, just letting all the eggs drop on the floor, after I’ve asked for help 19 times :slight_smile: Its therapeutic to see that others are suffering as well, migrating to Kinetic. :smiley:


Level 8: Hiding from reality


Right there with you @hasokeric. At the end of the day, I often chide myself on the drive home for my procrastination which create my Level 5 anxiety.

On a side note - anyone with a Psych degree on here? Does it sound like we need some group sessions?


Haso I was literally typing this, had a draft, and deleted it.

And with the same exact reasoning… I come here to help people who are in need like I am because I want everyone to know there are many people feeling the same way, many people who need help (including me).


Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Works for computers. Probably works for brains?

That’s known as Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s law - Wikipedia

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Is that not what Happy Hour is for?



“Any work will fill the time allotted to it.”


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Yes, I was sad to see I lost my “Regular” status recently. That’s when I know I’m in the 5+ section as you all were saying.

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funny but I almost do better having more areas to be busy in, so there’s no way I can let parkinson’s law take over. I’m the ERP frankeneverythingmeister at work, serve as director on a private school board and charity, have 3 teenagers, am starting an e-commerce business the old way (ie not FBA), am renovating my basement and playing with a CNC router in my garage…

I was way more stressed and overworked when all I did was go to work every day. Now I just move all the needles ever so slightly and manage expectations. Thankfully, there are people out there who are stressed and just cruise the forums looking for my questions to answer :grimacing:

“Productivity is a trap. Becoming more efficient just makes you more rushed, and trying to clear the decks simply makes them fill up again faster. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever achieved “work-life balance,” whatever that might be, and you certainly won’t get there by copying the “six things successful people do before 7:00 a.m.” The day will never arrive when you finally have everything under control—when the flood of emails has been contained; when your to-do lists have stopped getting longer; when you’re meeting all your obligations at work and in your home life; when nobody’s angry with you for missing a deadline or dropping the ball; and when the fully optimized person you’ve become can turn, at long last, to the things life is really supposed to be about. Let’s start by admitting defeat: none of this is ever going to happen. But you know what? That’s excellent news.”
― Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals


I wish I knew what work life balance is. I’m constantly neglected life for work and it shows in my connections and I get burned out. I dream about work and that is bad and wake up in the middle of the night with solutions or possible solutions to try out along with lack of sleep because of burning the midnight oil. Too many items on my plate to possibly delegate or juggle myself. Unsustainable to say the least.