In our society people walk around with busyness as a badge of honour, but why do we place so much value on this term? Why are we considered worthy and respectable only when we are overworked and exhausted? And why is “taking it easy” automatically compared to being lazy and unproductive?
If we take the time to think about it (but who has that kind of time?!), we cannot possibly create the life we want if we are constantly doing something. A purposeful life requires time for introspection and contemplation.
There seem to be a few common reasons many of us find ourselves doing way too much. Which of these can you relate to?
You Don’t Like Making Choices
For many of us, being busy is a byproduct of being indecisive. “Should I do project A, Project B, or Project C? Mmmm, I’ll just do all of them.” We think it will be easier to do everything than to suffer the consequences of making the wrong decision.
You Were Never Taught That Boundaries are Healthy
If our parents were always saying “yes” to others in an effort to be kind, helpful, or to “do the right thing,” then we don’t understand the importance of boundaries. The saying “You can’t be all things to all people,” is applicable here. It is not only your right to set boundaries, it is your personal responsibility to do so. Your well-being is your responsibility, no one else’s.
You Wish to Avoid Something
It is far easier to avoid a difficult issue in your life if you can focus on 25 other things.
Regardless of why you are being busy, the reality is it can lead to exhaustion, depression, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and even a loss in productivity. Some would even argue that boredom is a good thing and can lead to enhanced creativity and innovation.
The good news is that we can all become less busy. If we can recognize that being busy is a bad habit we’ve gotten into, like fidgeting or biting our nails, we can use transformational strategies to give ourselves more time to rest, process, and create more meaningful lives.
1. Start Saying No More Often
It’s time to think before you speak. Before saying yes to any other projects, tasks, commitments, etc. ask yourself if this is something you A) really want to do and B) have time for.
Too many of us are concerned with “being nice” instead of being practical and responsible. It is perfectly okay for you to say no more often. It will feel awkward at first if you’re a “yes” person. But it does get easier the more you say it.
Remember this: saying no more often will allow you to say YES to those things, and only those things, that bring meaning and joy to your life.
2. Practice Self-Love
If you’re someone who is always thinking about other people and wondering how you can help them, it’s time to start practicing self-love and self-compassion. Being compassionate toward yourself means recognizing your own needs and desires and making choices based on those. Starting now, measure your self-worth not by how others view you, but how you view yourself.
3. Become Mindful
The busier we are, the more robotic and machinelike we become. If you spend most of your day moving from one task to the next and the next and the next, it’s time to stop and become present in the moment.
Being mindful means being aware of what is going on around you and inside you. It means prioritizing your tasks and carefully choosing how to spend each precious moment. Moving through your day with deliberate intention will ensure your actions have meaning and purpose.
All of us have a choice in how we live our day-to-day lives. But to make the best possible choices we need to stop being so busy and take time to discover what really matters.