Is being too busy stopping you from appreciating the good things in life?
The other day I was walking out of one of the local markets and I ran into a mom friend of mine. For those of you without kids, “mom friend” indicates that I see this gal around at our kid’s functions from time-to-time but I wouldn’t normally hang out with her. If I hung out with her, she’d be an actual “friend”.
Now that we have the terminology out of the way, this gal happened to catch me on a really great day when I was feeling quite peaceful and happy with life all-around.
Of course, she asked me how I was doing.
I replied, “You know, I’m doing great. Everything’s going great - I’m feeling relaxed and happy, and things are really falling into place today.”
That woman looked at me as if the top of my head had just popped off.
“Really?? I wish I felt the same way! Must be nice - I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off!”
OK, I get it. She was busy. Very, very busy. Whateverrrrrr.
Stop Feeling Obligated to be Busy
When people ask you how you’re doing, do you usually respond with “busy”? And if so, do you respond that way because you actually are extremely busy, or because you’re afraid of the embarrassment it would bring for people to think that you weren’t?
How would your friends respond if you answered as I had in the situation above?
The culture of busyness has become so prominent that it makes us think if we’re not busy we’re not producing. If we’re not super busy, we’re not living up to our full potential or putting in enough effort.
But honestly, I think that allowing ourselves to become overly busy is just a new way for us to not live our lives. It’s a distraction from our lives.
It’s become an addiction to pack our lives so full of “stuff” that we feel like we’re going to snap!
Everybody has responsibilities, right? We often have our jobs, then our kid stuff compiled and pressed on top of that, our friend stuff compiled and pressed on top of those things, activities, clubs, groups, hangouts with friends and family…this is just a start to the list!
We have reached the time in our society when people don’t say “no” to anything because it seems to indicate weakness and slacking.
Completely, 100% Unnecessary
How about the people that “should” on you?
“You should be doing this … you should be doing that … you should sign up for this thing ...” We’re sort of programmed now to roll with our busyness as part of our identity and who we are within our communities.
But the truth is, it’s actually the greatest distraction from living our lives. The overloading of our schedules is completely, 100% unnecessary!
And, this overloading of our schedules doesn’t just have to mean physically going places and running around like a lunatic. For instance, being on your phone is a form of busyness that allows us to escape from our lives for hours at a time.
We slip into some sort of alternate reality when we engage with Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Twitter… these things that take up so much of our time.
If you don’t believe me, go into your iPhone (under Settings | Battery) and look at how much time you’ve spent on social media and games. Seriously. Do it right now. It will be mind-blowing.
Back in My Day … (Old Lady Voice)
When I was a kid – I was born in 1980 - people couldn’t get a hold of us if we weren’t home by our phones or at work with our office phones.
We didn’t have the technology available that’s gotten us 24/7 tied down to everyone around us. And it’s not just the office emails! It’s the alerts from social media, text messages from friends, cell phone calls from family. We are available to people ALL DAY AND NIGHT!
It has sort of become this thing where we feel obligated to respond.
Get this – we do not have to respond. Especially when we’re under a lot of pressure. How about just having a day to veg out?
I tend to fall into this trap where laying around on a Sunday makes me feel lazy and unproductive. I actually can get quite a lot of anxiety from it.
Why are we not allowed to relax for a day and give ourselves the time that our bodies and minds need to chill out and re-charge?
7 Steps to Slowing Down
So how do we stop becoming a culture of busy and begin to slow things down?
1. Monitoring social media use.
I wasn’t kidding. Check it now. Then, get that shit under control.
2. Establish boundaries.
Learn some boundary techniques and the art of saying “no”. If you find yourself saying “yes” to every request or favor, and it causes feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed, you’d probably benefit from setting a boundary or two. They are so important for our mental health. Do some research or set up a Breakthrough Session with me to discuss options.
3. Ditch the idea of perfectionism.
Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. We can do things, have them not be perfect, and still be complete with them. Am I talking crazy right now? Who cares, other than you?
Take a bath, go to yoga, watch a show, pretend to hurt somebody during kickboxing – whatever you need to do to relax – do it. And remember to ditch that perfectionism in the back of your mind that’s making you think you’re not enough!
5. Hold up a minute, dude.
We can’t say “no” to everything, but before saying “yes” to helping someone out or to a new task or commitment, take a moment to think about what it will mean to your schedule and mental health. I always have a “no” answer in my back pocket. A canned response like “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for asking but I just can’t right now. I’m already booked and I can’t take it on. Thanks, though. I appreciate you asking.”
6. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Try to check in on yourself daily to see if you are doing real work that absolutely needs to get done, or if it’s just busy work. Understand that you don’t have to do busy work. There are certain things that need to get done, and other things that you take on – maybe as a distraction from doing the important stuff that is boring, tedious or even strenuous.
7. Creating a gratitude habit
I live with an attitude of gratitude and it has changed everything in my world for the better. I write down 3 things every single day that I am grateful for, and it helps me focus on what is going right in my world. It also encourages me to be appreciative for the things that I have.
Friends, let’s stop the culture of busyness! We need to start unplugging and plugging back IN to people and nature and relationships and families.
I’m sure that taking these small steps to ward off the busyness will have your life soaring as a byproduct.
Make an effort to reduce 10 hours of busy time this week, and let me know how it feels! I’d love to hear from you!
How can a Life Coach help you?
If you've ever wondered what a Life Coach does, all you have to do is ask! I offer a free consultation called the Breakthrough Session. Before our conversation I’ll send you some paperwork to fill out which will include a questionnaire that will help me assess where you are at in your personal and professional life. We will discuss the following topics during our initial 45-minute free consultation:
Career and Mission
Fun and Excitement
Family and Friends