“Busy.” It’s the new default answer to “How are you?” It’s like an automatic reaction, said without really thinking first to see if it’s true. We’re supposed to be busy after all, aren’t we? If we’re not, we’re lazy or lack ambition.
I’m sure when you talk about how busy you are, you do it in an exasperated tone to convey how much you wish you weren’t. “There’s just not enough hours in the day,” right?
Sure, we all have a lot of demands on our time and things that need our attention, but even when we find ourselves with some down time, our tendency is to fill it because “busy” is what’s familiar. As such, space in our day can feel awkward and even wrong.
Like any other kind of clutter, jam-packed days is merely a symptom, and not the true problem. If you say you’d like to be less busy but aren’t taking any steps to make that happen, there’s clearly a benefit to you feeling pulled in all directions.
See if any of the following payouts resonate with you.
Benefits of busyness:
- Allows you to ignore any dissatisfaction in your life. After all, the more full your calendar is, the easier it is to avoid facing some truths.
- Makes you feel important. Having appointment after appointment, phone call after phone call, errand after errand can help you feel valuable. Are you someone who tends to define your worth by what you do instead of who you are?
- Ingratiates you to others. Maybe you think being an automatic “yes” machine to people’s requests or invitations keeps you in their good graces and prevents them from abandoning you, not liking you, or not needing you.
There are some healthy benefits to busyness as well. I know when I’ve got a lot to do in any given day, I can get on a roll and accomplish much more than those days when my schedule is looser. And, I can feel more plugged in and engaged in a process when it’s keeping me busy.
However, by filling your day with meetings, appointments, tasks, and commitments — not all of which are aligned with your unique goals of Living Out Loud — you become blind to the gift and opportunities available to you in the present moment.
When your focus is sharpened on simply getting through the day, you miss what’s in the periphery — and it’s there, my friend, that all the gems reside.
So here’s your challenge for this week:
Review your schedule and commitments for the next seven days, and evaluate how many of them support the bigger picture you want for your life. Note which items you could, theoretically, cancel or dump. This is not to say you have to cancel any. I want you to just start looking at your priorities a bit more closely.
If you’re wishing or hoping for a different way of life or to play bigger in the world (whatever that means to you), let’s be sure your actions are aligned with your desires.
Now let me hear from you! Share your thoughts on this in the comments below. What about it feels exciting? What feels challenging? What is your resistance saying to you?
Take the time to tackle this week’s challenge. You’re worth it.
Until next week, keep taking those steps to Live Out Loud!