Confession: I had planned on writing this blog two weeks ago and was “too busy” to get around to it. Pretty ironic, right? Was I too busy, or did I just not make this a priority? I’ll let you be the judge of that. In any case, sometimes you write for others and sometimes you write for yourself; I hope that this blog serves as a bit of both.
Over the past few months, I’ve put a lot of thought into what is really means to be busy. Being busy is very much subjective because it’s all a reflection of how someone chooses to (or not to) handle everything that he or she has on her plate. How often do you ask someone how they are and they swiftly respond with “Busy!”? As my Yoga Instructor noted earlier this month: When did busy become an emotion?
Now, before you get pissed because I don’t know your life, your struggles or your do-list list, I want to be clear that I am not doubting that you have a lot going on. Most of us do. What I’m wondering is this: are you really as busy as you think you are or are you just doing a piss poor job of organizing your day?
Being busy is a choice, so first take ownership of that fact.
We make our own schedules by agreeing to do things, be that taking on more responsibility at work or making a third dinner plan for the week. When our schedule gets overloaded, we tend to feel overwhelmed even if the majority of our plans are by choice and supposed to be leisurely.
#SundayFunday is best spent watching football, taking it easy and prepping for the week ahead. Get into the habit of reviewing your upcoming week before dinner on Sunday. Make a note of how full your week is so you know how much you can realistically add to your plate throughout the week without feeling overwhelmed.
When you look at your calendar as well as your to-do list, define which items are work vs. which are fun and leisure. Work can be defined as your actual paying job, or your job as a Mom, Dad, etc. For example, filing your taxes or submitting a client project by deadline is a non-negotiable for work. In order to feel successful, you must prioritize your non-negotiable list first.
Next, evaluate the rest of your list. How many are things that you do for fun and enjoyment? This will allow you to be more realistic about your “full plate.” If more than 30% of your to-do list is filled with fun, you’re not as busy as you think you are, you just need to prioritize better.
When we are intentional with our priorities, life is more balanced. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time that you are allotting for it. I like to give myself more time than I anticipate so I don’t feel rushed. Learn how you work best and are most efficient. Regardless of if it’s personal or professional work, I tend to get the items that I’m least interested in over with first so the latter part of my day is filled with more enjoyable priorities.
Remember when I said that you are in control of your own schedule and to-do list? This is the part where you learn when your plate is just full enough to not be overwhelmed. Most of us like the say yes to everything, and when it’s bucketed in the fun and leisure category, it’s that much easier to accept an invitation. You must identify where the line is for you. When does your list start to feel overwhelming or too busy? A part of this means learning to say no to things, even if it’s the fun stuff.