Busyness has overtaken today’s society. Busy is the new fine and it’s not really a good place to be. In fact, busy-fine stinks!
Recently during my husband’s vacation time, we had the luxury of turning off time. We didn’t have to wake up by the alarm clocks, our daily routine for 17 days was in ‘vacation mode’ and it was pure bliss. I could see the stress from his body and face disappear over the days. We had been looking forward to those days for months for him to rest and relax.
Gretchen Rubin of “The Happiness Project” wrote, ”When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to “enjoy now.” If I can enjoy the present, I don’t need to count on the happiness that is (or isn’t) waiting for me in the future.
The problem is that busy is the new fine.
Busy is the new fine
See if you recognize a conversation like this:
“Hey! how Ya doing?”
“Great, I’m SO busy!”
“Good morning, how are you today?”
“It’s been a busy morning….”
I know those conversations well. I used to be the starring participant.
See the pattern? We USED to say “fine”. Now we say “BUSY”. We’ve become like professional jugglers. spinning the balls, moving quickly to something else. What happens when we miss one…they all end up dropping…
When we say “i’m busy” what we are communicating is that “I’m too busy for you right now”. Most people pick up the subtle message and back off. You may not see them for the rest of the day – or ever again.
Often times when we NEED a deep relationship. But instead of pursuing the relationship we embrace tasks, to-do’s, and ‘the list’ and avoid the comfort and support that a friendship can offer us. As a result, being extra busy, ironically, is loneliness and depression…
I am an Introvert that allowed busyness to overtake my life.
I was busy all day long and evenings. I loved my time alone to re-charge, but I put expectations on myself in order to cater to everyone else and all the people in my personal (and I love those people) and business life (and I loved the people, but not the scope of my work).
I had a hope and dream in my head, I thought about ‘doing’ it. I even had my husband’s permission. Hope and dream turned into a goal and plan.
I decided to make a drastic personal decision. It was ultimately a decision to regain peace in my life, quality of life and relationships.
Remember being grounded as a child? You had misbehaved, so you had to stay close to home and maybe certain privileges or toys were taken away.
I quit my job. But I did more than quit my job. I grounded myself just like a parent may ground a child when they have misbehaved. I didn’t go run out to find another job in a new career field. I didn’t get involved in new activities to fill the space. My time and mind had been so consumed with goals, career, and status. I was on a consumption binge. Everything consumed my mind and time, that I was feeling more and more disconnected with myself, my time and I felt less in control by each day.
I decided for the first year that I would not make any commitments except to learn more about online business building. But I didn’t join groups, I didn’t join the gym, I didn’t start any group Bible studies. Nothing that would take away from the balance I needed to practice.
Sort of like learning to ride a bike as a child (or adult) and learning to balance without the training wheels. I needed to learn (again) how to create a balanced life.
Stop the busyness insanity
Here’s some hints I learned to stop my internal and external insanity while being grounded.
- Discipline breeds discipline.
When we become more disciplined in one area of our life, that feeling of accomplishment sort of spills over into other areas of our life. The discipline grows to another area that needs works. The success and accomplishment made in one area of life, can be made in other areas. Making one good choice often leads to another good choice.
Daily Mojo: What’s one area of your life right now that you are ready to balance? Are you a workaholic? Have you become disconnected from family and friends? Are you a perfectionist? Do you have some health issues that need attention? Decide on one area today and write down one thing that you can do TODAY to begin healing that area of your life.
- When we stop being busy, we start getting more honest.
When we choose to live a more balanced life you are going to have more down time. Down time should lead to some silence, or quiet time, and it provides you time to think and evaluate your life. Yes, silence can be scary because it may force you to confront your fears, deepest sins, unhealthy behaviours. Busy-ness contributes to to the blurry vision of your life.
Daily Mojo: Take an honest look at yourself and your schedule. Do you need to ground yourself? Do you need to say no to some things? Do you need to belong to all those groups and activities? Do you have to say yes to every friend’s invite for coffee? Do you have to volunteer to be on the next task team at the office? Chart your activities from sun up to sun down for a week, and see what are absolute HAVES in your schedule. See if you can’t find something to eliminate.
- Scheduling solitude time is not selfish.
There are times in our life when we have to make drastic changes in order to gain focus in life. Other people are not going to necessarily agree or understand. Just because someone else doesn’t understand or agree, doesn’t mean it’s less important and shouldn’t be a priority. If the busyness in your life is because you have a large number of people in your ‘inner circle’ (the circle of folks that personally interact with you on a daily/weekly basis) then of course they are probably going to take your choice personally. Solitude is a choice, your choice, to feed your heart, mind, body and soul as much as food and water are needed for your physical health. Prepare yourself for the question of “WHY” from others. If you are being prompted in your spirit that you need to add some solitude to your life, then it’s time to accept and act on that prompting.
Daily Mojo: You may think you need to start small, maybe one day of solitude. I know for some that one day is going to seem like eternity. Turn off the electronics, turn off the Facebook, erase the schedule from the calendar. Find a good book, a journal, or some quiet music and curl up for some peace and quiet. Plan on going on a walk and eating healthy that day. Spend 24 hours allowing your spirit to enjoy the quiet and listen to yourself.
- Live with intention.
The newest cell phone commercial brags about how many data minutes the plan has and the sales person is explaining this to a young couple in love. They are intending on using those minutes for a long distance relationship. “48 hours” of data minutes. “Wow, that’s a lot of talking” responds one of the young lovers. Something tells me that the couple when together, is really not living IN the moment of being together. They aren’t living as though every minute together counts. When you are learning to live more grounded, balanced and enjoying solitude, the next thing that happened was recognizing “the moment” or intention. Gone are the times of splitting my time between scrolling on the phone to stay ‘plugged in’ to work email or other personal stuff (Facebook, texts, etc). Instead are the times of intention. When I’m visiting with family, I want all my attention to be focused towards them – enjoying the precious moments.
Daily Mojo: The next time family or friends get together, have everyone put the phones in a basket or in the center of the table. No one is allowed to scroll through their phone, which is more of a habit than a necessity. Instead, everyone has their faces towards each other, with the intention of actually doing what you are saying you’re going to do – visit with each other.
- I QUIT the busyness and job. What I learned when I kicked off the heels and left cubicle nation.
Some folks may think I took my grounding to an extreme. I know not everyone has the luxury to do what I did – quit corporate America to take a year off. Truthfully, I hope your mental health never comes to NEEDING to take that extreme measure. Unfortunately, I was emotionally, physically and mentally worn out, tired out, and burned out. So, I walked away – of course with a one month notice. When I left, I left on good terms and the offer was extended that I could always come back – the door was always open.
Quitting for a little while or a long while makes any work better. No matter how many things are pulling at our attention sometimes it just means quitting for a little while. Maybe you’ve always been the one of the bible study leaders at church but you are seeing that your schedule needs to be trimmed. You need a break. Quitting that leadership role for a season doesn’t mean you won’t ever teach again. It just means you need a break now.
Daily Mojo: Look at your list, commitments and to-do’s. Find something that can be completely eliminated. Quit – it may be for a season it may be forever. You’ll figure that out.
There’s one thing about life and time. You can either define time, or you can let time define you. You are the only one in control. No, really you are. It is completely you and the power within you that chooses what to do and how to use your time. The only way you can change your life is to deliberately make the decision – to change.
If the to-do list has you overwhelmed, you may feel like every day you are spinning your wheels. I know I did. One thing I did to stop the insanity was to begin each day with a purposeful item on my morning action list. If you would like to hear my story about my “Your On Purpose Project” visit ==>HERE<==
Kim Steadman is the Content Curator and COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest, a place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who are ready to RePurpose and ReDesign themselves according to God’s purpose for their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. She is the author of the soon to be released book ““My Little Book of Empty Nest Quotes & Wisdom.’ Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim