While I fall into the category of people who are typically the biggest busy-worshipers (working class, educated), I always assumed that I wasn’t a part of that crowd until over the holidays, one of my friends had asked me how I had been doing, and I immediately responded with the words, “Fine-but I’ve been so busy! Extremely Busy”. I suddenly realized that I was just as guilty as the other busy being busy people. This is because busy-ness has become a status symbol, a sign that you are in demand and therefore important.
It’s easy to default to the word “busy” to describe your life. When we tell people that we are busy, in many cases what we are trying to say is “The activities that occupy my time are important” and “I feel overwhelmed because I am busy, but my busyness is mandatory because I’m contributing so much to the world”. When we feel busy, we feel like we are winning at life-like we are doing something right and maximizing our productivity.
However, our insistence on staying busy can have damaging effects on our mental well-being: more stress, exhaustion, burnout, and an inability to focus on the present. I’ve resolved to make 2018 the year I stop feeling busy. And, based on the research I’ve done so far, it won’t require doing less-it will simply require changing the way I think and speak. Want to join me? Here’s how to get started.
Stop Talking About Being Busy
Far too many of us have made “So busy” the automatic answer to “How are you?‚ It has essentially become a replacement for a standard answer like good or fine, when what we are really trying to say is Successful! Wanted! Admired!. Instead of telling people that you are busy, try talking about what you’re doing-the accomplishments that are making you feel busy and thus making you feel proud. For example, ‚ I’m doing well! I just got a promotion and its given me the opportunity to travel quite a bit more. Avoiding the compulsion to constantly insist that you’re busy will make you feel less busy.
Outsource and Delegate More
Modifications to our thinking and speech patterns can be incredibly powerful, but I’m sure you might be thinking, “But I really am busy. I don’t have a spare minute in the day’. I feel compelled to include at least one strategy for being less busy, as opposed to just feeling less busy. At the end of your day, write down two things that you did that someone else could have done for you. They might be administrative tasks, housework, or simply to-do items that someone else could have accomplished just as easily. The next day, delegate those items. You will discover that you’re maximizing your productivity every day and this simple habit will help you reduce the impression of being busy always.
Multi-Tasking During Leisure Time
Although mobile technology has helped improve our working efficiency, it has also increased our need to consistently multi task and take on more work activities even during leisure and rest periods. We’ve become accustomed to multi-tasking during our downtime- PowerPoint creation while we watch television, checking our email while we’re out to dinner, watching a webinar while we’re working out. It is therefore important to not only carve out rest time for yourself, but to acknowledge as well that rest is a necessary part of our overall wellbeing. Don’t multitask unnecessarily-enjoy the downtime, and mentally label it as such. Culled from an original article published on the Maintenance World website.