Is Being Busy a Way To Avoid Living Intentionally?
It seems like there's a lot more to do these days – more email to check, more Jones' to keep up with, more events to attend, more activities to schedule.
But also, like being busy is something to be proud of.
And if you're not busy, people think there must be something wrong with you.
And yet, I think there's something more to this.
Have we decided that we're only valuable if we're busy and productive?
Maybe it doesn’t even matter WHAT we're doing, as long as we're always doing. (Sigh)
Is being busy keeping you from what you really want?
Sometimes I notice myself “getting busy” to avoid facing uncomfortable feelings, to distract myself from what’s really going on in my life, or to procrastinate on something that I'd like to avoid handling.
Admit it, we all do this.
I've also noticed, at times, I keep myself busy doing 'all the mom things' because, in some ways, it feels easier. I may never do the things that are really important to me, but it's because I'm "too busy." And those things that are really important to me? Well, they're sort of scary to start (like starting a business). Or hard (like losing weight). Or uncomfortable (like going to therapy).
It can feel easier to just keep being busy so I don't have to push outside of my comfort zone.
But at what cost?
I think that being busy and telling people and ourselves how busy we are may be keeping us from what we really need to (and want to) be doing. The things that will provide us with a genuine sense of belonging, connection, and self-worth. Or doing things that bring more meaning and purpose to our lives. Or that nourish our soul.
Deep down that's what most of us are seeking, right?
But we hide behind being busy because we are…well, we're a bit afraid we'll never get the things we long for. So it seems safer to set the bar low and ignore the tugs of the heart.
I think some of the most life-changing work we can do is to find the courage to get less busy so we can focus on what matters most to our soul.
To stop allowing the outside world tell us what we SHOULD do, who we SHOULD be, what defines a GOOD person and what SUCCESS looks like.
Here's the thing...I don't want you to miss out on something better because you're too busy
I think there are two main types of "busy people." Those who are frazzled and a little frenetic. Always feeling like there's too much to do, feeling overwhelmed, fraught with guilt for not doing enough and very clear that they're "too busy." They wish they weren't this busy, but don't know how to get off the hamster wheel.
Then there are the people who thrive on being busy. They like the adrenaline and sense of accomplishment and pride themselves on being productive and getting it all done. (That was me - I said things like “I like to be busy – it’s fun and I feel good about myself when I get things done.”)
At a low point in my life, when I was feeling pretty empty and wondering "is this it?" I started to think "am I so busy doing everything that needs to be done that I may be missing something? Maybe I'm so busy, I'm not noticing what I'm missing?" I wondered if I was addicted to how it felt to check-the-boxes off the to-do-list and manage all of the things - that sense of accomplishment, hustling for my worthiness (as Brene Brown would say).
Maybe I was unable to hear the whispers of my soul because my life was so noisy and busy.
I got curious - what else could be possible for me? This question was the beginning of the blossoming of me, and my life.
If you want to find out if even more is possible for you (it is), it’s time to slow down, even if just a little bit.
It's your life. It's so easy to just keep going along on auto-pilot, doing all the things we need to do. Busy little bees. But then, you wake up one day and wonder where the time went. Why did I live my life worrying about what other people think? Why didn't I live more intentionally? More true to myself?
Now's your chance to take action.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~Socrates
6 Practical Tips for Slowing Down
- Stop saying that "I'm so busy.” If our thoughts create our reality…what reality are you creating?
- Stop saying “I should…” There are very few things that MUST be done. Notice where you put unnecessary pressure on yourself – does your house need to be spotless? do you tell yourself that you must drive for every field trip? do you think you need to exercise every day? Maybe all of this “should-ing on yourself’ is interfering with that you really want…just consider the possibility!
- Ask for help. You don’t need to do it alone. Sometimes we're in the habit of doing everything, but when we reflect, we see that our partners and children can pitch in.
- Get good at saying no. Can you make a list of how you want to spend your time? Get clear on what you consider to be in alignment with your values, who you are and what you want in life. Then, when asked to volunteer, go out, participate in an event, etc…you'll be in a better place to make decisions that are in sync with your priorities.
- Be really honest with yourself. Generally speaking, if you say “I can’t, I am too busy,” you really mean “I won’t.” It’s empowering to be in control of how you spend your time. In your mind, swap “I can’t” with “I won’t” before you make a decision. It’s YOU making conscious choices about where you will and won’t spend your time. The truth is that we always make time for what we really want to do.
- Change the way you think about sleep and rest. Sleep and rest are a productive and useful ways to spend your time. Try to get more of it.
“Sleep is one of the most important predictors of how long you will live — as important as whether you smoke, exercise, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol…Unhealthy sleep remains American’s largest, deadliest, most costly, and least studied health problem.” ~William C. Dement, MD, PhD, Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences
Wondering if you're too busy? Here are 10 Signs You're Too Busy.
The juice is in the conversation my friends…please comment below to tell me what your experience is around “being busy.” Do you have words of wisdom? Fears? Something else to share? We all want to hear what you have to say!
P.S. Slowing down includes your mind. Most of us have very busy minds – analyzing, worrying, planning, examining. Right? I know it’s true. My mind is crazy busy…but it’s (mostly) no longer busy with worry, fears, self-criticism, and judgment – usually just exciting new ideas, gratitude and joy…seriously. But it takes facing the truth and getting to know yourself again to get through the crappy over-thinking, over-analyzing, worrying, comparing, and fear-based mind stuff.
Stick with me and you will notice shifts. Please share this with a busy friend or two if you think they might like this article!
Ready to live more authentically? I can teach, and show you the road, but I cannot carry you on the path towards self-love and authenticity. You must walk the walk, climb your own mountain. But if you want to go with me, and other women on the path, you may want to check out Self-Love Basecamp.