Let’s address the busy-ness fad, shall we?
I do hope this post is helpful if you want to slow down and feel like you have more time. Believe me; you can do this!
But let’s be honest.
Being busy is a common complaint nowadays. It’s the bog-standard answer to the question we all ask.
“How are you?”
“Erm, I’m busy!”
Whether it’s the school run, juggling work, house chores, admin, childcare demands, or something else entirely.
Free time seems non-existent these days. We get to the end of the day fuzzy-headed, wondering where the day went?
What did I do again? Who did I see?
I feel it too, believe me. Yet the irony is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day until we die. That’s a fact.
But it’s what we do with those 24 hours that makes the difference.
Busy Busy Busy?
Where does the time go?
To begin, you need to understand what you’re currently spending time on. To answer this, it’s a good idea to record one of your ‘typical’ days. And I mean record every hour what you’ve been doing.
I know! BORING! But trust me; it’s worth it.
I recommend doing this for at least a 6-hour stint to get an idea of what you’re spending time on.
The reason to do this is not to catch yourself out but to work out what can be optimised so you free up more time for yourself.
So, grab a blank sheet of paper, write down the time (say it’s 8.30am) and then recall what you’ve just spent the last hour doing.
Write it down and be HONEST! Otherwise, this exercise won’t work.
Have you spent 45 mins in the bathroom for example? Or spent 30 mins on Facebook? Write everything down. Stick to the facts, and don’t make it mean anything – you’re recording data at this point.
Do this for at least a 6 hour stint. Take it to mid-afternoon, then review what you’ve written.
Now ask yourself if there’s anything on your list, that really isn’t that important or that’s a complete time zapper?
Have a think and write down the answers.
Reflection on being busy
Next, and this is the good bit… throw those time-zapping activities in the bin. And instead, write down some things you’d like to be doing with your time.
Maybe you’d like to read a book? Talk to a friend? Make something? Exercise? Sit and do nothing? Play with your toddler? Go out for coffee? Take a walk?
Whatever it is, plan something in place of the time-zapping activities.
Now here’s the crux.
Of course, many of the things you’d like to do aren’t possible depending on your responsibilities (i.e. kids, jobs, etc), but you can always plan them for the evening when you’ve got some extra time.
So you need to weigh this up with the day-to-day demands, say no to the things you can say no to, and work around the other bits.
If you want more time, you’ll need to find more time, which means giving up things that really don’t matter.
Another helpful technique is something called ‘time blocking’.
This is where you set a certain time for doing certain activities.
Say you need an hour to get ready in the morning, you’d set the time to do that between 7 and 8am as an example. Next you need two hours to work, you’d block out between 12 and 2pm in your diary.
By setting time blocks, you commit to doing what you need to do in the time you’ve set. Time blocking can make you more productive and help you create a feeling of having more time.
You can time block time to yourself too. Set aside a certain block for doing something you want to do, ideally something that would nourish you rather than drain you.
Choose not to be busy
A lot of our busyness is down to habit. We get so used to rushing around and doing things quickly that before we know it, we’re burning out at both ends.
It is up to us to choose how we behave, and this is where the beauty of choice comes in.
Choose to take things slower. Make a choice to not to rush in the morning. Take things at a slower pace on purpose, like driving, or cooking or shopping. Just slow down. You’ll enjoy it more!
A really special ‘slow’ time for me is getting the kids dressed.
I could get flustered at the fact it takes forever and do it in a hurried way, but instead, I choose to take my time and take it as easy as possible.
I choose peace at that moment.
Knowing that if I were to hurry, my kids would think that hurried behaviour is normal – or worse – that they’re a nuisance and I don’t have time for them.
Granted, they’re not at school yet so we don’t need to rush as such – but I refuse to rush even if we have a strict time limit to follow.
A little planning goes a long way in avoiding the rush; that’s my best tip for you. Plan in advance as much as you can!
I recommend writing stuff down whatever situation you’re in. I’ve been a fan of journaling for many years now, and I write every single day without fail. Check out my e-book to find out more.
Throwing down thoughts, writing down problems, feelings and emotions. Making plans or lists. It’s all so much better when it’s out of your head and on paper!
If you enjoyed this post, I reckon you’ll love this one on Mindfulness.
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