Last night I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned thinking about everything I needed to get done. While my husband snored, I grabbed my iPad and piled tasks on my digital to-do list. Now, I am starting my day tired and if anyone dares to ask me how life is going, I will respond: BUSY!
Are you busy, too? By that, I mean are you juggling, cramming, rushing and feeling exhausted?
We are all busy because that's life today. But maybe there's something else going on. Maybe we just haven’t figured out a better way to work and live.
I just finished reading How To Thrive In A World of Too Much Busy by Tony Crabbe and found myself thinking differently about my struggle with work life balance and our society’s addiction to being busy.
Crabbe says we are busy because we're not making the tough choices. We choose skimming email rather than grappling with a complex project because it's the easy, busy activity. We steal attention from real relationships while we keep ourselves busy on social networks. Beating busy is simple, he says. It's about focusing on the things that matter.
Here are some suggestion Crabbe gives to gain control over our lives and find a better work life balance.
1. Say no to a request or ask permission to delay a deadline by using the word “because.” If you use "because" in your request, your argument will be seen as more rational and acceptable.
2. Be deliberate when you check email. Set specific times and do it in a focused way rather than grazing.
3. Identify at least one meeting that you can cancel or simply not attend.
4. Next time you are asked to do something, assess how much spare time you have and half it. Then assess how long you think the new task will take and double it. Now you can make a better informed judgment whether to take it on.
5. Get better at making good choices. If we choose to fill our calendar with more, more, more, we are choosing not to have time to think — and that isn't effective. Resist feeling you have to fill up all your time at work or home.
6. Make intentional choices. The primary driver for choosing activities at work and home should be internal "what do I want to achieve?"
7. Over-invest your time and attention in the 15 most important people in your life.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself:
What could I do less of to enjoy life more?
What is the “I’m too busy” excuse stopping me from doing?
What is one small step I could take to go from being frenetically busy to being happy?
Making behavior changes is hard. It’s much easier to walk around thinking we have to do more and convince ourselves we need to be more productive. By being busy, we actually get to feel productive while procrastinating.
Have you ever really thought about whether you are addicted to being busy? Have you ever stopped to look at whether you're getting it wrong?