Being busy is almost a badge of honor these days. It’s fashionable to complain about it on social media, and talk about it with a loud sigh while standing in line with a friend. Believe me, I was skilled in blaming lots of stress on being busy. But after many years of wearing the “busy badge,” I’ve been working on how to stop feeling busy all the time.
I finally realized that the thought of “I’m so busy” is not serving me. Busyness is just a feeling, and it’s created by sentences in our mind. I love that word: sentences. It strips away the power of those feelings and exposes it for what it is: sentences we are telling ourselves. We can use the sentences to justify lack of self-care, being late, procrastination, and all manner of undesirable behavior. Maybe part of it is competition in our mind with other people: “I’m busier than them.”
The thing is, we are responsible for our thoughts and emotions. We are choosing to feel busy.
Thoughts + Feelings = State of Mind.
Yes, there’s a lot to do and many of us have numerous responsibilities. I’m not denying that there are hard circumstances and heavy loads. But here’s the first step in how to stop feeling busy all the time:
Stop telling yourself
I had to stop telling myself “I’m so busy.”
Telling myself those sentences and making them my story just made me feel overwhelmed and stressed. It kept me focused on “I can’t” and “this is too hard.”
The truth is….I have plenty of time to get everything done….that matters.
Become aware of those words “I’m so busy” and replace them with “I have plenty of time to get everything done that matters.” Try that on for size–how does it feel? You might feel stress drain away, and you just might feel a little silly for having gotten so overwhelmed.
Here’s another tip for the sentences in your brain: Replace “I HAVE to do” with:
“I’m excited to do”
“I get to do”
“I WANT to do.”
Think about doing the things you do because it matters. Because you want to be the kind of person who does those things. It’s just what you do, because it’s who you are.
Newsflash: you don’t necessarily have to LIKE everything you do that matters. It’s a great opportunity to build character and work ethic.
Re-Think Your List
Re-think “the stuff I gotta do.” Write a list of all you do, then think about what REALLY matters. How much time do you spend doing things that don’t matter? Reclaim a portion of that time for what does matter. Start by taking a look at the screen time spent on your mobile devices. Stunning, isn’t it? What could you get done if you cut that screen time in half?
Remind yourself: “I am creating this stress and overwhelm by my thoughts. I can choose different thoughts.” We can choose to feel busy and stressed and overwhelmed….or not. Thoughts create feelings, so go backwards and change the thoughts.
Let’s admit that sometimes we want to wallow in self-pity and have a good overwhelm. Maybe deep down we hope someone will rescue us or justify our meltdown. Is that really who we want to be?
Do you want to be a peaceful person with moments of frustration or a frustrated person with peaceful moments?
I choose to reclaim my agenda and my time, and to do things because they matter. I choose more solid boundaries around how I spend my time, and a solid awareness of my thoughts. Life will never be perfect, but I choose to be a peaceful person with fleeting moments of frustration.
Lest you think I’m amazing, let me tell you that I work on this every day. It’s a constant retraining of my thinking but it’s getting there. And when I’m not there, I forgive myself. And then forgive myself when I don’t forgive myself!
Who’s with me? Let’s stop feeling busy all the time!