Updated: Jan 11
Everywhere I look on social media, I see articles encouraging us to be “busy” or to “hustle”. It seems that being “busy being busy” is something to look up to. Like a powerful or high status symbol. Too many people have little or no time for themselves, for friends, and for family. Sadly, it all seems to be the new normal now.
When we are kids, time seems to pass by much slower. Days seem longer and summer vacation seemed to last longer. As kids, we would focus on one thing at a time. We truly lived in the moment. Now that we are all grown-up, time just seems to fly by. We have all these responsibilities now. Work, chores, family, appointments, and not enough hours in the day to do the all. Or so it seems.
1. Busy being busy.
Once we get used to being busy, no matter how much we wish we had more time, we can’t seem to get un-busy. But why? Are we led to believe that not being busy means we are lazy, not doing our best, or missing out on life? Do we feel like we are less important if we are “less” busy? But by being so “busy”, aren’t we actually loosing precious time to enjoy family, friends and life? What about how it affects our health?
Tiana Wilson-Buys is a Business Coach and Productivity Strategist. She says: “It seems, in this new world, that the busier we are, the higher our status in the eyes of our peers. Which is probably why “busy” seems to be the answer almost every time we ask someone how they are. The old “Good thank you, and you?” greeting response is no longer good enough. We are now BUSY– that carries much more weight than “good”. It says: “I am in demand, I am a rare commodity”. It says I have high status. Busyness is the status symbol of the 21stcentury.”
Things to think about
In her book, ‘I Know How She Does It‘, Vanderkam had 143 mothers with six-figure jobs track and log what they did every hour for one week. She found that “very busy” women worked on average 44 hrs a week, and slept around 8 hrs a night, leaving them with 70 hrs a week for family, friends, and personal activities….
We do have busy lives. So what can we do to find time to balance it all. It’s important to take a good look at the items on your to do list. Are there any changes that can be made? How can you better manage your time?
2. Here are a few ideas that can help.
Re-evaluate your tasks.
Be clear on what is truly important to you and make them a priority. (life goals, family time, etc). Which ones are truly important from the not so important ones. Make sure to schedule “family”, “friend” and “fun” time. Scheduling is committing. Schedule that family activity, that fitness class, and that coffee with a friend.
Set realistic time allowance for each task.
Remember that it takes as much or as little time to do a task as what you have allotted yourself. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time, no more no less. When we give ourselves more time than is actually required for a task, we tend to take that amount of time to accomplish said task.
Set a timer when spending time on social media.
There is nothing wrong with going through your facebook, instagram or twitter feed. Social media is a wonderful way to stay connected and informed. It’s also an easy way to loose track of valuable time. Set a timer before logging on. This way you can be certain you won’t get side tracked into spending way more time on social media than you had planned.
When focusing on a project or task, turn off your phone, close your office door, unplug your landline. Do what you can to limit any distractions. Once distracted, it takes between 20 to 25 minutes to get your full concentration back. How many times are you interrupted by others or your phone? Think about how much time this eats up out of your day.
Have a set time to check your emails.
Checking our emails is another interruption in our day. We see an email and want to reply to it right away. But checking emails a dozen times a day equals to many interruptions. You could check your emails once in the morning before starting your work, once in the afternoon, and one last time before you clock out. Find what works for you. This way, you will have less interruptions in your day and more time be focused and get thing done.
Lastly, don’t forget to:
Practice saying no. Set boundaries.
Know and respect your limits.
Make time to think. Things become amazingly clear once we sit still.
Make time to relax.
Conclusion: Being busy is not all bad.
Being busy is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. Being busy spending time with family, friends, life goals, and things that support your well-being is a good thing. It’s all about balance.
The next time some asks how you are doing, take a moment before answering. Check in with yourself and with what is going on in your life at that moment. Avoid using the typical answer of “I’m fine” or “I’m busy”. Give an honest answer. Take this moment to connect.