I’m throwing down a challenge. Right here. Right now.
Let’s stop talking about how “busy” we all are.
It’s almost become a badge of honor to claim that we’re oh so busy.
Seriously. Try it out. When you’re out and about today, ask people how they are and pay attention to what percentage of them respond with “I’m good! Yeah. Really good. You know, just so busy, but good.”
We might as well wear a physical badge that says ‘Martyr’ on it. It’s time to own this one.
Just yesterday, I was facilitating a program and we opened with a discussion about how the participants feel ‘too busy’ to do the assigned homework. Naturally, I’ve heard this before and while I certainly empathize, I don’t cut people slack on this topic.
Busy is a choice. What I think we are suffering from is an over-commitment problem. We say yes when we want to say no. We need to learn that one simple word, all by itself, is a complete sentence.
Naturally, there are times when we all feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff we have to do. When you’re feeling this, here are some ideas/tips to take your life back. Because that’s what we’re talking about here. Your life. Your contentment. The full use of your gifts for your highest good. I doubt any of us hope this will be our epitaph:
Here lies Rebecca. She couldn’t say no. She lived her life so busy, running to and fro. Now, she’s gone and having breathed her last breath, poor Rebecca yes-ed herself to death.
How to Break Yourself of Busy
Analyze How You Currently Spend Your Time
I know it’s hard, but the truth hurts. If you feel you don’t have time, you might not be acting as a good steward of your time. Keep a time log. Physically write it down.
Don’t like what you see? Well then, change it! Take out a new log, and viewing a week at a time, first fill in your non-negotiables: you know, like eating, work, being with your family, working out, etc. These are things that you absolutely HAVE to do.
From there, start thinking about how to use the margin to best serve your goals.
We all have the same amount of time to use however we wish. The most successful people don’t complain about how busy they are. They have learned to say no. They are selective about what deserves their time and attention.
Review your log and do the following:
- If you can cut it immediately, do it. (An example would be the gross amount of time spent on Facebook, Pinterest or virtually playing your mom on Trivia Crack.)
- If you get asked to ‘help’ with something else, first, answer the following questions:
- Does it align with my gifts?
- Will it bring me joy?
- Will I do the work out of love?
- Can I add it without sacrificing something of greater importance in my life?
- If you answer yes to all of the following, then make room for it.
- If not, you have to question whether the opportunity is right for you. Just say ‘no’. No need to make excuses, either. Just politely and tactfully say “Thank you for thinking of me, but I really need to say no this time.”
- Failure to apply this test will inevitably cause you to say yes when you don’t really want to. You know what happens then? You rob someone else of their chance to do it. You read that right. You ROB them. If you’re just doing it begrudgingly out of guilt or obligation, you may not be the best suited person for the job. Give someone their chance to shine. Just say NO.
What tasks/actions could be done by someone else? Afraid of this because it won’t be done as well as you do it? Welcome to my world. I mean, really.
The bottom line is: sometimes it really does pay to pay someone else to do it. The best thing I’ve ever done for our household was to hire someone to come in twice a month and deep clean. My sanity is worth the investment.
Let’s be honest. Asking for help is hard. It’s not admitting you suck. It’s acknowledging that, without help, you can’t be a good steward of your time. Really get creative with this one. Who can help you or take stuff off your plate?
Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate
As time goes on, your position as the President of the PTA will run its course and you’ll have to turn the snack list and class party agenda over to a new queen. If you don’t recognize this, you’ll eternally be their leader.
Only you can evaluate your schedule on an ongoing basis to determine if where you’re spending your time still makes sense. This will change over time and to effectively determine what to say yes to, you absolutely need to check in. I recommend doing this every 6 months.
Failure to consider any of these options makes your life a hamster wheel. I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of running nonstop in a circle simply exhausting. And come to think of it, pretty damn meaningless.
In order to thrive and make the most of this one life we’ve been given, we have to stretch, grow and learn. The awesome part is that you get to decide what areas you want to stretch. What you want to learn. How you want to grow. Make sure that the things you say ‘yes’ to support that vision.
Beware the busy. (Oh and a quick side note, if you’re reading this thinking, “But I LOVE to be busy!”, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to those (myself included) that have at one point or another used ‘busy’ as an excuse.)
Beware the busy. Aim for engaged. Involved. Committed.
Your time is your most precious resource. Use it wisely.
As always, I love to hear from the people I am supporting. Add a comment here or hop on over the Facebook page and comment there!