Have you paid attention to how often you tell yourself and others how busy you are?
Do you realize what bullshit that is?
The mantra becomes especially prevalent this time of year and it’s our favorite excuse for inaction, second only to not having enough time.
I have decided to remove this word from my vocabulary immediately. There is no way that I can think of that it serves me or others to use it. It’s a great way to shut down and it’s very demotivating for me.
How can I possibly do another thing if I’m already “too busy”?
How can I ask my friend for an hour of her time if she’s already “so busy”?
The answer is that I don’t. We just don’t do the thing if we already have the illusion of being busy.
In the words of master coach, Brook Castillo, “Busyness is mental construct revealing how much you are thinking about, not how much you are doing.” Busy is just your brain buzzing around. Busy is truly a state of mind.
You always, always have the choice of how you spend the precious twenty four hours of time that comes with each day given to you on this earth.
How much or how little that you pack into those hours is absolutely your decision.
I get it. You have a job with a long commute, so there go at least ten hours of the twenty four. What can you do about that? How can you maximize every other waking hour and still take care of yourself? It is absolutely possible, if you truly evaluate how you are spending your time. Refer to my previous post, Yes, You Have Time for more perspective.
Some may find it easier to use busy terminology to get out of doing something they just don’t want to do. Because I have done this myself, I’m on to that lie.
No, you’re never too busy. You just don’t want to, it’s not a priority, or it’s not on your schedule and you’re not willing or able to adjust that. Why is that so hard to admit to ourselves and others?
We’re not willing to speak our truth because the truth can be uncomfortable.
Just be honest with yourself. Be on to your brain when it’s buzzing around with all of the things that you have to do, because you haven’t even done them yet. The reality is that you can only do one thing at a time. The only way you’re going to get all of it done is to apply focused energy to one thing at a time and to stick to your plan until it’s complete.
It’s that freaking simple.
Here’s a truth bomb: there’s no such thing as multitasking. There is only switching back and forth from one task to another. And the more you switch around, the longer it takes to complete. You are redirecting your focus and energy each time. Each time you switch, you’re taking more brain power to stop and start something new.
Take it from a recovered multitask-er. You may pride yourself on being one, but the reality is you’ll get more shit done if you stop the multitasking and replace it with beginning to end focus. Now that I have had my own mindset shift, I am fascinated by the way that we wear the label of multitask-er like a badge of honor. We might even call ourselves experts at it and drop it on our resume! Ridiculous.
Being in the busy state of mind on purpose is also a great way to avoid our feelings. As Brené Brown says, ” ‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor. It’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”
Sit with that for a minute and let it marinate. We also use being busy as a way to avoid feelings! What the heck is that all about?
Well, as long as the brain is busy thinking about all of the things that you have to do, it becomes too preoccupied to process the raw emotions that you are working to suppress. Here is where you may want to push back and tell me that you aren’t being busy on purpose. You simply have a crazy life. That’s just the way it is.
Except I’ve already told you that everything you do is your choice. If it is your choice to stay in that busy mindset, there is something you are trying to avoid. Maybe it’s taking that first step to start your own business because that seems scary and requires making yourself vulnerable to risk. Maybe it’s putting off that conversation you know that you need to have with your mother because it might not be pleasant. Maybe it’s starting that remodeling project at home that seems too daunting.
If you’re not numbing away your emotions with cocktails at the end of the end of the day, you’re numbing them with your busyness. Perhaps even a little of both.
Finally, a word to my fellow parents, especially those with several young children. I understand how difficult it may seem that you are in control of your day when these tiny humans demand so much of you at every turn.
I think it’s very important to find your support system and acknowledge when you need help. It seems especially true for mothers that we tend to own all of the responsibility for child care when we don’t always have to. Find your balance. Use your voice. Ask for what you need.
Stop living in that head space and start considering what you are actually accomplishing on a daily basis. How are you showing up for others when you project your busy mindset? More importantly, how are you showing up for yourself?
Ask yourself how it serves you to be so very busy so much of the time, and consider doing what I’m doing: remove that word from your daily language. Try openness and honesty instead. Reevaluate your priorities for each day so that when your head hits the pillow at night, the exhaustion that you feel is the kind that is satisfying because you’ve had a very productive day. Not a busy one!
Would you like to be coached on this or another area of your life? Book a free consultation with me here.