It gets a little annoying when people share with you that they are “hectic,” “in a whirlwind,” “consumed,” “crazy” or too busy,” doesn’t it? It almost gets to the point of people bragging about how busy they are. Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, interviewed Ann Burnett, who studies how language creates our reality, and discovered that “people are competing about being busy and it shows status. If you are busy, you are important.” It seems that busyness is now extolled as a virtue, so people are almost to the point of being terrified of having “down-time” or, heaven forbid, a vacation. To proclaim such would be equivalent to saying you are a dinosaur with one foot in the grave.
Here’s a concept: John Robinson, a sociologist who studies time and created American Time Use Surveys, suggests that the answer to feeling oppressively busy is to stop telling yourself that you are so very, very busy, because the truth is we are less busy that we think we are. And, our insistence on our “busyness” adds unnecessary stress, bad decision-making, fractured relationships and exhaustion! It’s that negative talk that run through your head taking away from your ability to be mindful of what you are doing and present in the moment.
Some ideas to release yourself from the chains of busyness include:
- Set aside time to plan and set clear expectations of what “really” needs to be accomplished. (Not every to-do item is equal, you know).
- Figuring out if every email need to be responded to immediately? Is there a way to organize your email using “rules” in your program (e.g., needs response; read later?). You know that email can wait, right? Your life can’t.
- Shutting off your phone or putting it aside so you can watch the sunset; enjoy your child playing soccer; or laugh with a dear friend? Oh, and while you are chatting with a friend, brainstorm ways in which you can take control of your life!
- Giving up the challenge of trying to be perfect. Instead of baking the “time-honored” cake that takes hours to put together, make cupcakes with a theme, perhaps even from a mix.
- Offload what you can. Hire a cleaning service. If that isn’t an option, split the chores within your family
Getting rid of that feeling of being overwhelmed or constantly proclaiming to be so very busy, will help you focus on the important things in LIFE. Maybe it’s a new career or getting re-connected to your family and friends. I bet you are missed!