Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Courtney Carver of Be More with Less.
I never thought I would laugh at how busy I used to be. I was serious about my ability to be superwoman. I could work 40+ hours a week, raise a child, volunteer when anyone asked, exercise, travel, cook, and clean. I could do it all, and then some.
Everyone was doing it all, so I did too. I didn’t want to do it all. Doing it all made me exhausted. Doing it all cost me friendships. Doing it all cost me my health. My busyness wasn’t even a little bit silly.
Becoming less busy was not an accident, but a decision I made on purpose. I made the decision that a busy life wasn’t a life for me. Being a good person, loving wife, mother and friend…that was the life I wanted. Next to that, I wanted the freedom to do things that made my heart sing instead of things that weighed me down.
Until I intentionally left a life of chronic busyness, I couldn’t see how silly it really was. The silliness of busyness is that sometimes you are so busy, you can’t recognize you are in trouble. You are so overwhelmed that you can’t figure out how to change. You are so used to being busy that you create more work to make your life even busier.
You may be lost in the silliness of busyness if…
- Your usual response to “how are you?” is “so busy”, “crazy busy” or “busy but good”
- You spend time worrying about how busy you are going to be tomorrow
- You get angry when your spouse or friends aren’t as busy as you
- Your busy life keeps you up at night thinking about everything you didn’t get done
- You make a point of letting people know that you stay at the office after hours
- You check email several times a day
- You zone out during conversations thinking about everything you have to do
- You volunteer for things you don’t care about
- You spend time complaining about how busy you are
- You make list after list to make sure you don’t forget anything during your busy day
- You allocate time each day to clean your desk or organize your stuff
- You regularly eat in your car
- You use a phone in the car because “it’s the only time you have to talk”
If you are anything like me, you are busy because you want to be or because you don’t know how to be un-busy. You are busy out of misdirected guilt because you think if you do enough, you will be enough. When you decide that it is ok to live life your way, you can stop being busy and start doing things that matter. You can talk about your meaningful day instead of ranting about your busy schedule. Decide today that you are enough, even if you never do anything, accomplish anything or produce anything ever again. You are enough.
How to be less busy
- be unproductive on purpose
- only check email 2X per day
- delete email and toss mail that you don’t need to read
- turn your phone and computer off when you aren’t working
- turn everything off in the car (except the car)
- put your ipad down
- read The Power of Less
- help someone
- do less, be more
- stop trying to keep up, measure up or catch up
While you may think that you are making sacrifices for others by being busy, you are likely sacrificing the same relationships you think you are saving. Get real, make time and consider what is most important to you. Then do that first. The rest can wait.