It is quite easy to let ourselves get caught up in a whirlwind of activity, especially in the workplace, and feed off the adrenalin that accompanies a looming deadline or unexpected change that -- individually or as a team -- must be dealt with. Priorities, and perhaps even passions, get put onto back burners while tensions mount. Eventually, all this eases with a sense of accomplishment and there may even be a certain buzz that comes from a task completed. Despite the valiant efforts that might earn a quiet pride upon reflection, there is still the very real sense of feeling absolutely spent at the end of the day.
The problem during such distracting or even addictive stretches of busyness, especially if it is one introduced out of (perceived) panic, is that they are highly unlikely to align with one's priorities or passions. The adrenalin rush takes over and the calm, focus and intent of peak performance morph into something that neither stokes the appropriate brain chemistry of flow nor aligns with your goals and values. While being busy might sate the curiosity about whether or not one or one's work is valued or important, in other instances there might be a reason to exercise caution or concern about being busy. In Japanese, for instance, the character for busy is comprised of the radicals representing "heart" and "death." While this combination does not hinder the use of the term, it does embed a caution light in the dialogue about busyness that gets overlooked in English.
The interpretation of busyness as meaning or implying a "death of the heart" is not a challenging logical progression. Busyness, whether it is imposed or -- more dangerously -- sought, essentially reduces, pummels and/or imprisons the solitary time that we require to acknowledge and give shape to our goals and passions. Busyness also evicts the possibility of peak performance in favour of the less mindful frenzy of multitasking and arbitrary deadlines because during those busy times we are likely not as mindful of what inspires us most deeply.
It is worth adding that in Japanese, when the radicals for "heart" and "death" are written one above the other, instead of side-by-side, the character means forget - again, not a huge leap of logic or concept. We indeed forget when we are busy, we excuse forgetfulness when busy, and whether it is a short term sacrifice to achieve an objective or a motivated numbing busyness to isolate ourselves from challenges and difficulties that we would rather not face.
The possibility of busyness being allowed to overwhelm us at work is just one, and in some ways it may be the safer scenario. Excessive demands in the workplace are more likely to prompt a detached or even resistant posture - just the attitude to make one keep score and keep promises to even the ledger when there is time to relax and reflect on the work. In that setting you can be detached enough to recognize that the demands are unwelcome and make a promise to reward oneself with the downtime or the revitalization that would counter the negative effects of excessive busyness.
The bigger danger is when busyness is pursued for the comfort of staying occupied with something, anything, for the sake of muting the uncertainties that speak loudest in stillness and silence. In that pursuit busyness is a toxin that keeps us from embracing the chaos that comes with our unique potential and evading the core of who we are and what we are most capable of being.