This is something I hear all the time, from friends, from family, colleagues and also myself as previously touched on in my ‘Downtime’ post.
Looking around at what ‘busy’ actually means across society it seems for some to have become a badge of success. Everyone is ‘so busy’, with work, with family, with rushing about, trying to keep all the balls in air, meeting deadlines……
Just reading that sentence makes me wonder if that sounds like a calm, focused approach to life? I think it sounds too hectic for me!
Has being ‘so busy’ become the norm. So much so that we don’t really notice or question it and continue to approach each day with a view to getting as much done as possible, as quickly as possible. This can often result in not actually getting everything done, or not getting things done to the standard we would like.
But are we really that busy? Or rather, do we choose to be that busy – there are a lot of differences of opinion in response to this question. Some people really do thrive on the 100 mile-an-hour approach but is it sustainable, or good for us, or good for those around us, who don’t get the ‘best version’ of us, just what’s left of us at the end of a busy, hectic day?
The issues that ‘busy-ness’ can bring:
- Not being focused on the present moment: there is something to be said for multi-tasking, however, having many things on our list can mean that we are not really focusing on the present moment and task in hand. While we are doing one thing are we already thinking about the next?
- Spreading ourselves too thinly: doing lots of things at once and trying to be all things to all people, does raises the question of whether anything can truly have 100% dedication? Are we operating at our best and most effective? Are we having quality conversations with our friends or colleagues, really listening and being engaged in that moment?
- Not putting ourselves first: more often than not when it comes to prioritising our ‘to do’ list we end up putting ourselves, and our wellbeing, way down at the bottom. Making time for eating and sleeping properly loses its importance and we end up tired, struggling to focus and burnt out.
I feel I might be at risk here of being a doom-monger and as I mentioned earlier some people can happily move through life at this pace and operate effectively. So when does it become an issue and what can we do?
The moment where we recognise how tired we are, or wonder when we last spent quality time with our friends, or had a lie-in, or finished work on time…. This is also the moment where we are able to choose if we would like to continue at that pace or choose a more calm, measured and mindful approach.
An alternative approach that I am personally testing out is one where I am actively managing my time rather than just trying to keep up. I don’t want to be too busy to see friends, family and enjoy everything that I have:
- Prioritise what is really important: identify where the pressure is coming from (often ourselves) and understand what is urgent, important and what can actually wait. For those that don’t like lists/ planning this might be a challenge but I think that spending the time to analyse and become clear about what is actually making us busy and then adjusting our ‘to do’ lists will save time in the long run. This is always a good time to see whereabouts ’procrastinating’ sits on our list ….. time spent talking about how busy we are is definitely better spent actually ‘doing’!
- Ask for support: accept that sometimes when we are genuinely busy and feeling the pressure we can ask for support / help from those around us. I would do the same for others, so what makes me reluctant to ask?
- Tune in to how I am feeling: both mentally and physically and sometimes I actually wonder if I can remember what it feels like to wake up properly refreshed. ‘Going to bed earlier’ sounds like such a luxury but really is an absolute necessity. Making time to cook lovely food and then sitting down to enjoy it makes such a difference for me. It marks the end of the ‘busy’ bit of the day and starts the relaxing, calmer time of the day.
I’m sure that it will take time some time for the new habits to form so I’ll keep you posted on how my new approach to reducing the ‘busy-ness’ is going.
Any thoughts, tips and comments that you have on keeping a balance between busy & relaxing are very welcome so please share below!
Thanks and have a lovely weekend xx