Does it make you feel stressed?
Or like you’re constantly rushing.
All the time.
Does it make you feel tired?
Depleted to your very core?
The word busy is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, ’having a great deal to do’.
We all usually have A Great Deal To Do.
Every Single Day.
It’s called Life.
I have recently eliminated the word ‘busy’ from my vocabulary and the changes I’ve experienced have been considerable.
Has my workload lessened?
Has my ‘to do’ list shrunk?
Have I got access to more time or a Fairy Godmother?
No, to all of the above.
(It would be very cool to have a Fairy Godmother though!)
The only thing that has changed is my perception of being busy and my attitude toward the word.
I feel we use busyness in a number of counterproductive and negative ways.
We use it to avoid. Just like with food and shopping and all the other avoidance tactics I mentioned in my first blog post.
To avoid feeling.
To avoid sharing.
To avoid making changes in our lives.
To avoid the gaps and the silences.
And what the whispers in them might reveal if we stopped to listen.
We use it to make us feel important and valued.
We use it to lump everything in together in one big higgledy-piggledy heap.
But if we stop to unravel that higgledy-piggledy heap we often find there are many things in there we don’t really have to do Right This Very Minute.
The space to take a step back and realise Not Everything Has To Be Done Right This Very Minute.
The space to realise multitasking really is a fairy tale.
The space to take pressure off myself – no-one but me will ever notice if I don’t do (a), (b) or (c) as quickly, as fabulously or as regularly as I would like to, if Time Weren’t a Factor.
The space to decide how I truly want to spend my time.
The space to be proactive rather than reactive.
The space to be able to prioritise what needs to be done next.
The space to be mindful.
I actually broke up with Busy before I started The Year of More – I did it after a friend sent me a link to an article called ‘The Glorification of Busy’ and after reading that article I started noticing how often people (myself included) use the word busy in a negative way – ‘How are you?’ ‘Oh, I’m so busy’. I’m not sure why but it usually sounds negative and draining and like something you wouldn’t ever actually Choose To Do or Be.
If you were mindful.
So as one of my objectives for The Year of More is to worry less and stress less, there’s a lovely alignment with continuing to let Busy be a relationship of my past. As with all relationships that are no longer part of our lives, there are reasons why we broke up in the first place. It appears we just weren’t compatible and we definitely weren’t making each other happy.
Even my manager has noticed a huge difference when I’ve been speaking with her about it. Usually I’d be rattling off my 'to do' list and I would actually feel the stress creep into my body as I’d be talking about it. But by eliminating the word busy, I’ve found it much easier to separate all the different tasks so they don’t blur into each other and become One Gigantic Mess of Must-Do-Right-Now’s. I’ve still done the same amount of work and I’m not saying no stress was involved as I didn’t always listen to my inner voice regularly and gently guiding me to Let Go of Busy. (Afterall, some exes are harder to let go of than others.) But I have certainly done it with much less stress, which has made a significant difference.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you don’t actually have a busy life. As I said, we all have a great deal to do all the time and I know those of you with children to care for have much longer and more complex 'to do' lists and responsibilities than I do! And I’m not even suggesting you will be able to find any space to be less busy. What I am saying though, is that our attitude toward how we describe The Way We’re Using Our Time, makes a massive difference to how we experience that time while we’re living it.
Report back. Perhaps make some notes in a nerdy list or spreadsheet if you feel the urge :)