How many people have you spoken to lately that feel overwhelmed with work, parenting, life? Moreover, how many times, over the last few months, have you felt yourself saying, “I’m just so busy”.
In today’s society, we seem to wear busyness as a badge of honour. We tell ourselves, “I’m busy, therefore I’m important and valuable, therefore I’m worthy”. We continue to take on more and more, and then feel guilty when we don’t achieve everything we set out to do. What’s more, when we do happen to come upon some ‘down time’, we aren’t sure what to do with it and feel uncomfortable not being busy.
If you haven’t realised it yet, busyness is a dangerous state of mind to live in. It’s a similar feeling to getting stuck in quicksand. The harder you try to get out of it, the deeper it draws you in.
Avoiding Our Vulnerabilities
Another approach to the ‘busy’ phenomenon is that of it being a way for us to escape the difficult areas in our lives.
According to Brene Brown, “One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy. I often say that when they start having 12-step meetings for busy-aholics, they’ll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.”
Could this be true? Could we be using busyness as an excuse to not face the tough situations or circumstances we find ourselves in? If so, the quicksand becomes that much deeper and that much more dangerous.
A further problem with falling into the trap of being busy is we find ourselves thinking we need to come up with some sort of plan to get ourselves out. Perhaps we could extend our working hours, say no to more social commitments, possible multiply ourselves so that we can do more?
No. The solution actually lies in that word exactly. We need to start saying “no”. No to taking on more than we can handle and yes to focusing on what really matters.
The secret to true productivity lies in the ability to chose what you want to do, and to choose to do it right, instead of taking on more and more. If you do this, not only will you have less things to do, but you won’t feel as guilty or stressed either.
See, when we are busy, there is no time to think, to reflect, or to even enjoy the things we are so busy doing. We are never present, but are rather focused on what we need to do next once this task is done. The truth of the matter is that your mind requires space. You need to breathe and just sit in silence. Silence helps us reflect. Serendipity attracts new ideas. Distance brings perspective.
Here are three principles to focus on which, essentially, sum all of this up:
- Focus on what’s essential
- Prioritize quality over quantity
- Emphasize achieving, not doing
If you’re still struggling to cope after applying these principles to your life, we at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, would love to help. Get in touch with us here, we can’t wait to here from you!