“I’m so busy.”
How often do you give this response, when someone asks how you are?
When do you not feel busy?
If you weren’t busy, what would it mean for you to just do…less? What arises in you as you ask yourself this question? Guilt? Joy? Fear?
It’s fair to say, for many of us, our day feels more like 5am to 9pm than the traditional ‘9-5’.
And yet, it’s almost as if we’ve glorified the notion of ‘busyness’ like it’s a badge of honor we wear, and one that we love to hate.
Why are we choosing to take on so much? Is it to prove we can do it all? Is it because we fear to ask for help? Or, is it because we think we have no choice?
The biggest lesson I learned in the last year is that we always have a choice, it’s whether or not we choose to live with the perceived consequence.
I will admit, I was the worst offender of ‘busy.’ I spent the last decade of my career living in a state of busyness. For me, what arose at the thought of not being busy was guilt. I believed that there was always more I could I be doing. What would people think of me if I wasn’t busy when everyone around me was?
And then it occurred to me while being in a constant state of busyness – a mind, body, emotional commitment to forever feeling frazzled – I realised that I was ticking a lot of stuff off my to-do list, but I wasn’t present to what my heart truly wanted or needed. I was so far removed from my sense of ‘Self’ I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Slowing down was a reward, a treat that I indulged in so rarely, and when I did, I’d allow my mind to race with all the things I should be doing, that I couldn’t even enjoy it. Go figure.
So then for me, came the inquiry, the coaching, the journey back to ‘Self.’
Today, I see this a lot with the women I coach, they wear many hats, such as wife, mother, partner, daughter, friend. In service of being all of these roles (often at once) they forget who they are. They lose their identity.
My question to you is, are you simply ticking off boxes on your to-do list without reflection or personal inquiry?
Right now, in your life, are you a human ‘being’ or a human ‘doing’?
The reality is, in the constant haste that is running our lives, we are often not seeing or hearing what we need for ourselves.
How to move from ‘Busy’ to ‘Being’:
- We always have the control to say no, we just may not want to face the consequence. Ask yourself, what would happen if you said no? What is the worst thing that could happen? Can you live with that? Is the consequence of saying no, more important than your wellbeing or personal happiness? Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ where it’s needed.
- The more we add to our to list, the less time we feel we have. The fewer things you have to focus on, the more energy you’ll have and the more productive you’ll be. Do one or two things well today, and bank the rest for tomorrow or later in the week. The overwhelming of the list itself can be so paralyzing it can slow us down from actually moving forward.
- Slowing down may help you to speed up. Have you ever heard of the ‘aha!’ moment theory? Do ideas or solutions often come to you when you least expect, like in the shower? Or a meditation session? When we free our mind from the ‘noise’, we release the inner critic, the feelings of angst and create space for more resourceful states like peace, joy or flow.
- What is it about be being busy that is serving you? When coaching clients, I always look to identify the secondary gain – the benefit the client is getting from the very habit they want to release. For example, does being busy may make you feel important to others? More competent or capable?
- Is your busyness a welcomed distraction from being with yourself? Are you avoiding the pain or fear of doing something that important to you? Or are you simply not OK to be in your own company? This is very common among women as too often we avoid doing what we know if really good for us, but it’s a hard conversation or experience to face.
Give yourself 20 mins this week to stop and do nothing. Sit in quiet, with your thoughts and see what arises for you. Making the change can be daunting, especially if it’s how we’ve “always” been. So start small and take just one thing off your list today, that will benefit you tomorrow.