I can’t do that. I’m busy.
I’m too busy to see your play.
I’m too busy to meet our cousins at the picnic.
I’m too busy to cook dinner. We’ll pick up takeout.
Busy, busy, busy.
Then at the end of that busy day, we collapse on the sofa with our takeout watching a mindless TV show while scrolling Facebook or playing a game on the phone.
Sound like you? No judgement. I get it. I DO love a good game of Candy Crush.
Busyness has become a status symbol, a badge of honor. But you don’t win awards for being busy.
And this may sound odd from a productivity specialist, but you don’t gain your value from how productive you are. You’re born valuable. You are a gift from God (universe, source).
Yet in the United States, busy is at least a movement. Quite possibly an epidemic. And sometimes I wonder if it’s a cult.
We sacrifice our connections on the altar of our to do list.
Did you know that golf courses are opening up more nine-hole fast-track courses because people are too busy to play 18 holes? What the heck?
Now golf is not my thing, but my husband loves it. We all know that the best deals are made out on the course not in the board room. Why? Because we BUILD relationships while playing golf. We learn to know, like, and trust the people with whom we spend time.
Busyness has become a health concern. If you are too busy, eventually it will take a toll on your mental and physical health. And that mean you could have difficulty sleeping and/or focusing. It affects your mood, making you irritable and impatient. Busyness is stressful and ultimately, stress shrinks your gray matter. I don’t know about you, but I figure age is already doing that. I don’t need to speed it along!
Where do you start?
The very first step is to stop saying I’m busy. Drop that phrase from your vocabulary.
I did. It’s life changing. Your blood pressure will lower.
Not that my life isn’t just as complicated, rich, and full. Nor is my to do list any shorter. It’s that I made a choice that I would no longer view my time construct as busy. Busy is a shortcut and an excuse. You’re better than that. Really, you are.
Step two do less. Sounds insane right? But it IS that simple.
Think about how slowly time moves at the DMV. And then think how it flies when you’re out for the day with family and friends are the beach. The difference you experience in time has to do with need vs want. You need to get your license renewed. But you want to hang out on the beach.
To do less, you must get intentional about what you WANT.
• Where do you want to spend your time?
• With whom do you want to spend it?
• Who do you want to be?
• What value do you put on your relationships, work, hobbies etc?
• What new thing would you love to learn?
I know a successful guy who works his tail off, plays racquetball, just started taking guitar lessons, and still has time to meet me for coffee. How does he do it? He’s gotten intentional about where he spends his time. He has goals and a plan to execute them. He can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m betting he doesn’t indulge in Candy Crush!
Like my superstar friend, I make deliberate choices about how I spend my time. I place greater values on some tasks than others. And I certainly have consciously decided that time spent connecting with the people I care about is the most important “task” I could have. I figure I got a second chance after cancer. Why would I squander that?
Finally, you must be present.
Wherever you are at that moment, you need to train your mind to be only focused on that one moment.
• You’re not checking your email while playing Chutes and Ladders with your toddler.
• You’re not scrolling through Facebook while on a date with your spouse.
• You’re not fretting about the laundry while writing your book.
Freaking out yet? Yeah, that whole mindfulness being present thing is hard and scary.
But you can do it. I have faith in you.