How busy are you these days? On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being enough time to kick back with a boxset and a brew, and 10 being “seriously, I’m that busy I’m forgetting to breathe” have a think about where you are on a busy-ness level.
Last week, I talked about reinventing your time, exploring your relationship with the clocks we watch, especially if every minute is accounted for.
But what if being busy feels like it’s become mandatory? Someone asks you how you are these days, the only socially acceptable reply seems to be “keeping busy!”.
And there are reasons for that.
One I’ve mentioned before, is that culturally many people I speak with are brought up to view sitting doing nothing as bad. There are various quotes about idle hands (and none of them positive). If you were caught kicking back when you were younger, you may even have been called lazy.
Add to this, as Ian Price says in this video, we’ve somehow conflated status with being busy. The busier a person is, the more important they seem.
So as well as society endorsing a busy lifestyle, we might have been programmed from an early age that busy-ness is a way not only to seem successful but to avoid punishment. As Edward Hallowell says in the the book Crazy Busy, “many of us now live in a rush we don’t want and didn’t mean to create”. (If you’re not sure if you’re too busy there’s some pointers in this article by Life Hack).
But is it all bad news? I don’t think so.
Sometimes busy-ness can be good for us.
It keeps us motivated, focused and purposeful. Having a reason to get up and out of bed in the morning, is a genuine pathway to happiness – knowing your values, and purpose in life is eudemonic; a “good busy” (as opposed to “crazy-busy”) when it puts a bit of sparkle in your step.
So how do we get the level right?
This week, set the intention to Balance Your Busy. If you have too much to do and not enough time, then take a helpful look at where your energy goes. Does your current lifestyle sit with your values, and what nourishes you at the deepest level? Does your busy-ness give you meaning and a lift and in all the right ways, or does it bring you down? If it’s the latter, see what needs to – and can reasonably – change. If the busy-ness is from putting others before yourself, remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and can’t sustain giving people energy you don’t have. Even if your commitments mean you have to spread yourself thinly in different directions, put at least one hour a week in your diary that is exclusively for you (an hour a day if you can manage it). Here’s a self-care ‘ta-da!’ bingo list in the meantime, to help your mojo flow.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020