“How are you?”
“I’m so busy”
How many times has that conversation been a part of your day? Let me take a guess……a lot.
Busy-ness seems to be a badge of honor these days. People almost seem to boast of how busy they are. Being busy has somehow become the way we tell everyone that we’re important or productive.
But really….how many times has the person who has said “I’m so busy” said it with a smile on their face and joy in their voice? Think about that….because when I say “I’m so busy,” it’s usually with a tone of exasperation or an exhausted look on my face. I’d even go so far as to suggest that when we say we are “busy” what we are really saying is that we are overwhelmed and not in control of our own time.
Our words matter. How we describe our days and our lives impacts our perception of them. When we are “busy,” we are hurried and often preoccupied and stressed out. “Busy” almost always implies engagement in activities that are not of our choosing — it’s business (busy-ness), not leisure.
The word busy means “actively engaged,” which doesn’t sound all that bad. But added to that definition is “not at leisure, not accessible.” It can also mean “cluttered with small, unharmonious details.”
Here’s the thing: I don’t know a single human being who doesn’t have a lot going on. It’s called life, chances are, you’ve got commitments that multiply when you’re not looking. Everyone’s insanely busy.
But I truly feel that if we took a step back from our “busy” days, we would recognize that a lot of the things taking up our time are not necessary and actually pull us away from what we truly want out of life. That being busy means we’re not being effective, we’re multi-tasking, we’re not focused. Busy is not good. So, let’s figure out how to get around this word that seems to occupy so much of our mental space.
- I’ve already said this, but words have power. So, instead of being busy, be engaged. When you’re busy with work, be engaged with your work. When you’re busy with your kids, engage with your kids. What often makes us feel busy is simply the sense that we should be doing something else.Instead of using the word busy, pick one of the following: I’m feeling really productive, My life is full, My life is rich, etc.
- Give yourself permission to be bored. This is something I have learned as a mother, letting my kids be bored has led to some really fun and fascinating conversations and adventures. The same goes for adults! It’s ok to not move from one-thing-to-the-next in quick succession, checking things off your list as quickly as you can. Take a break, be bored a some point, let you’re imagination break through the busy, you’ll be pleasantly surprised where it takes you!
- Schedule your Priorities, don’t let them schedule you. One practice I have implemented in my day is to write down up to 5 things that I need to accomplish the following day. This helps me set my schedule for the next day as well as allows me to step back from my work for the day, knowing I have a plan for the next day. This stems from the idea of “Big Rocks” delivered by Stephen Covey. If you plan your day around your “big rocks” (your priorities) then you’ll have room for all of the small things that come up along the way. You’ll end your day feeling productive, not busy.
I love the idea that we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS. Proclaiming our busy-ness every time we are asked, is not serving us. Let’s make an attempt to remove that word from our vocabulary. Replace it with another word. Get bored. Prioritize your days. Life outside of busy is good, trust me!