“I am so busy!”
Scrub that, there wasn’t enough emphasis…
“I am just SO CRAZY BUSY!!!!!!!”
Where has all this busyness come from?
What actually is ‘busyness’?
WHY ARE WE ALL SO BUSY?
It’s like an epidemic, all of a sudden we’re all dreadfully busy. It feels like a mix of feeling the need to be busy because we are so aware of how busy ‘everyone else’s’ lives are, combined with being the generations who are living through the first wave of the always-on digital society.
Being busy or ‘busyness’ is about constantly having a great deal to do, whether this is down to overfilling our calendars or never giving ourselves time to stop because the second we don’t have something to do we pick up our smartphones or tablets and start scrolling.
But just how valid is our daily busyness? And more importantly, where is all this busyness leading?
The thing about busyness is it is unrelenting and exhausting. In fact, it can lead us into ill-health. We end up feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.
So, what is the antidote? What can we do to banish busyness from our lives?
THE ANTIDOTE TO BUSYNESS
Start to shift your focus from being always on and filling every slot in your calendar to being more intentional with how you plan to spend your time.
Put the focus on what is right for you and the life that you want to lead. Use the principles of intentional living to define a blueprint for how you want to live your life, your values, your goals, what makes you happy.
Then start to shift your focus to intentionally spend time doing the things that fit within your blueprint and intentionally step away from the things that don’t. Read my post on Intentional Living And Why You Might Need It to put together your blueprint for life.
In the meantime, here’s a list of tips on how to be less busy. Food for thought to help you visualise the benefits of freeing yourself from busyness.
HOW TO BE LESS BUSY:
Here are some simple changes you can make to your life that will give you back the space taken up by busyness:
1. STOP CONFUSING BUSYNESS WITH EFFECTIVENESS
You know those days where you’ve been non-stop doing stuff, but at the end of the day, you don’t feel like you’ve achieved much. Well, that’s likely a result of confusing busyness with effectiveness. Be mindful in the things you choose to put your focus on during the day and leave yourself space to breathe.
2. ANALYSE YOUR CALENDAR
Sit down and look at your calendar and your to-do list. Sort out the things that it is essential for you to do from the things that aren’t. Then go through the essential list and decide if it absolutely has to be you who does everything.
Put off the non-essential things, check back in a week and see if it even mattered that you didn’t do them. If it did, add them back onto your calendar, if it didn’t, then say goodbye to them forever.
3. DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in a week. Be realistic about what you can actually achieve in those hours without leaving yourself a burnt-out wreck.
4. get intentional with EMAIL
The temptation to constantly check email is SO great. But checking emails is one of the biggest causes of busyness. Especially when you check your email outside of your regular work hours. Even knowing about stuff that needs doing when you’re next working adds to your mental load.
So stop the email mania, get more intentional with your email management and give yourself the gift of time.
For when you are working: Schedule a time during your working day when you check and respond to email. If this thought fills you with fear schedule two slots into your workday calendar.
For days and times of day when you aren’t working: DON’T check your email. You. Aren’t. Working. It’s as simple as that.
5. JUST SAY NO
If something doesn’t work for you and it’s not going to land anyone else in the crap, just say no. In fact, if it is going to land someone else in the crap, but it’s down to their bad management rather than yours, still say no!
Yes, communities thrive on help and support from everyone in the community, but there is nothing wrong with putting your own mental health and wellbeing first.
6. EMPOWER THOSE AROUND YOU
This comes into play both at work and at home. You might feel like you’re the only one who knows how to do something well, but unless you give others the chance to do it, how will they learn to do it as well as you?!! And more importantly, how will they ever step up and share the responsibility?
You will be amazed at how much you can get done when you give yourself a time limit for a project, whether it be something around the house or a work project. Timeboxing increases your focus and allows you to work much more intensely.
8. DOING NOTHING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
Ok, so not actually doing nothing, more not actually doing anything useful. Spending time pottering around is immensely healing, as is having the space to let your mind wander. I like pottering in the garden or going for a country walk. I also like doing a spot of impromptu baking, mainly because I like eating impromptu slices of cake. I’ve put together a post on the benefits of doing nothing, have a read!
So, what you are waiting for, stop being so busy! Pop over to my Intentional Living section for more on how to live a more intentional life.