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21 Tools To Help You Stop Being So “Busy”
No matter the season, I am a high-energy, full-speed-ahead kind of gal. Getting things done makes me feel good about everything: my life, my work, and, of course, myself.
But being productive and high-energy isn’t the same as being busy.
Ask yourself: what is the purpose of living? Is it to get from point A to B as quickly as we can? Or is it about enjoying the journey? Most of us would say it’s the journey, yet we don’t behave in that way. We fill our plates, over-schedule ourselves, and make sure there is zero white space in our lives.
And then we wonder why we’re exhausted and overwhelmed.
I get it because Being Busy was my lifestyle for way too many years.
Busy is an addiction and like any addict, quitting your drug of choice isn’t easy.
As I mentioned last week, I accidentally went through a detox for my Busy life a little over six years ago.
After my little two week respite of time, I had to re-enter my “real” world with flights to catch and multiple ways to Be Busy. I had gotten a real glimpse of what my life could be like if I could stop trying to get the damned Busy Badge to prove my worthiness.
The problem, of course, is that we don’t live in paradise forever; eventually we’re going to be a part of the real world and our normal life one day. And like any other addiction, sooner or later you are going to come face to face with your Drug of Choice.
Just because my soul knows it (and I bet yours does, too) doesn’t mean that it’s the easier path.
The call of busy is like a siren and I was a sailor!
There will be friends and colleagues trying to entice you back into being Busy. You’ll have a rough day, get tired of all that feeling and want a quick fix to numb the pain.
In our modern society, darling, you are going to have to consciously choose, sometimes daily, not to hop back on the Crazy Busy Train.
How can you do that in today’s instant society?
I’m not going to lie and tell you I haven’t backslidden into old ways on occasion. And, of course I have days – or a week – when my schedule is a little more packed and feels a little busier, but I’ve learned some tricks to make sure I stay in recovery.
Because I know it isn’t easy, here are twenty-one tools to help you ditch “Busy” as your lifestyle:
1. Get clear on what your real desires are. Being clear on what you desire means you’re also clear on what you don’t want.
2. Identify your roles in life and get super clear on what your priorities are.
3. Create a vision (and a plan) for your life. When you create a vision, you can more easily discern what you want, what works, and frankly, what isn’t.
4. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the Busy Trap the moment your feet hit the floor. Instead, spend fifteen minutes each evening preparing for the day ahead. Yes, this means supportive bedtime routines.
5. Play with the “Perfectly Imperfect Day” activity to help you define what you want your daily life to look and feel like.
6. Make sure you are clear on your values so that you can behave in accordance with them.
7. Define non-negotiable standards for living your life.
8. Put your goals on paper. When we commit to writing down our goals, we are more apt to follow-through.
9. Regularly review your goals to make sure you’re staying on track.
10. Take a hard look at your calendar. Review what’s on the schedule in the coming months. Consider block scheduling, which means you bulk similar activities into the same time periods to help channel your energy.
11. Make appointments with yourself so that you have blocked off time to pursue your passions – be it writing, reading, creating art, working out, cooking.
12. Learn that “no” is a complete sentence.
13. Create a meal plan because being well fed makes it easier to resist the call of Busy. What we nourish our bodies with allows us to nourish our hearts and souls as well.
14. Make quality sleep a priority. You need at least seven hours. Do the math and make it happen.
15. Don’t charge your phone in your bedroom. In fact, remove as many electronics from the bedroom as possible. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to be busy before bed, the moment you get up, and for some, when you wake in the middle of the night. Remove thy temptations.
16. If you are in a relationship, create a vision with your partner on your ideal shared life. Make decisions according to that vision.
17. Are you a parent? Limit children to no more than two extracurricular activities at a time. This can feel challenging, but it allows for real family time. Too many parents over-schedule their kiddos and spend every evening and weekend running to and fro. It stresses everyone out!
18. Whether you are partnered, single parenting or have a larger brood under your roof, create a household calendar so that planning can be done with everyone in mind. It’s a great way to educate our kids on how to manage their time.
19. Check in with yourself on a weekly basis. I know for anyone in a busy lifestyle taking time out for a review feels undoable and frivolous, however, it allows you to get your head above water and plan your life instead of reacting.
20. Commit to taking a full day off from all things electronic. Yes, your phone, your tablet, your computer… No email. No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Periscope. You can begin by doing it a half-day if necessary, but taking this break from electronics will help you connect to yourself and loved ones.
21. And the most important tool I can share with you is that you must make peace with the fact that you are worthy of being loved and accepted for exactly who you are. Being busy will never prove your worth to anyone. Love is your birthright.
Darling, life is short. When we choose Busy as our lifestyle, we inherently diminish the quality of our lives and often sacrifice our health. I discovered that I could really love myself – and my life – when I slowed down. I could find joy in the tiniest of moments when I wasn’t going zero-to-seventy in six seconds.
Though it will feel challenging to step off the treadmill and not medicate ourselves with the Busy Drug, I promise that it’s worth it.
Loving your every day life is where the real value in living is. And frankly, darling, you are worth it.
Need help beginning to ditch your Busy Lifestyle? Begin by creating a vision – and a plan – to make it happen. Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision can help.