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How to be Less Busy

How to be Less Busy

I don’t have the time…Shawn Stratton

We are living in a busyness epidemic! Think about the number of times in the last month your response to the question “How are things?” with “Busy!” or some variation of busy.

Let’s take a closer look at ‘busy’.

What Does It Mean To Be Busy?

Busy means you hardly have enough time in the day to accomplish all the IMPORTANT tasks at work and at home you would like to accomplish. I stress the important tasks because by the nature of living life there will usually be items we don’t get to in the run of a day. There are usually more items on the To Do list at work, more studying to be completed and more housework to be done than can be completed each day.

What You Mean When You Say You Are Busy…

Shawn Stratton

© Wicker Paradise

My definition of Busy and Stress are similar: stressed means giving a shit about something and busy means giving a shit about too many things.

The problem with busy is that most people are using the word when they struggle with completing not just the important tasks but also all the tasks they could ever do in the run of a day. Even just saying you are busy can cause the same emotional response on your body and mind that stress has and the detrimental effects that stress has on the body has been well documented.

Think about the last time you were not busy? Can you even remember a time? If you are not busy, are you bored or is everything in balance?

Think about the people you perceive as successful in your life and in the media. They probably appear to be busy. Well most of the time their busyness doesn’t mean they have a list of things they would really like to do but don’t have time to do it like our “busyness” usually means. So, we tell ourselves and everyone else we are busy because know one wants to sound unsuccessful.

Shawn Stratton I listened to an interview with Barack Obama the other day and said that he doesn’t partake in the Washington ‘cocktail circuit’ as past presidents have because he has “two kids at home”. He didn’t say I don’t participate because I am too busy. His kids just take a higher priority. There is a belief that being busy means being successful and not being busy as not successful.

The busyness epidemic runs so deep in our society (or with the people I hang out with anyway) that people try to put the words in your mouth. I often have people come to me and say “How are things?” followed with, before I get a chance to open my mouth, “you must be so busy”. If I responded with “no, not busy really” you can imagine the look of concern on their face.

Take a moment to ask yourself:

  • Do you like being “busy?”
  • Why are you busy?
  • How long are you going to be busy, day weeks, years?
  • What does not being busy look like to you?

At the end of the day, there are only 24 hours in a day. YOU CHOOSE what to do with those hours OR if you don’t choose, someone will choose for you! You choose where and what you make a priority in your life and you choose where you spend your time. Right now, you have made reading this blog entry your priority.

If you want more time to do something in your life, stop doing all those things that you do now that are not important to you. I am not saying don’t chill every now and then by relaxing in front of the TV, but if that is important to you, just do it consciously. It should be the highest priority thing for you to be doing.

At the end of the day, please stop saying you are “too busy…” because in actual fact “You make time for the things you really want to do.”

Action: Write out a top 5 list of priorities that YOU CHOOSE to fill your time with for a given day. At the end of the day, review your list and give yourself a grade on how well you did at staying true to your priorities. Rewrite and visit this list often.