Is busy really better? I used to think so…
I thought being busy gave me status and an entrepreneurial flare that would ultimately make me more successful. Could I even call myself an entrepreneur if I wasn’t constantly busy? I mean, there was always work to be done and, being a solopreneur, I was the one to do it.
I figured if I couldn’t take every waking moment to follow my dreams of building a business than I wasn’t really serious – or truly passionate – about my goals, or my life.
So I got busy… really busy. I booked seminars and delivered program after program. I blasted out blog after blog, went to numerous networking events, and always acted as chief marketer, accountant, administrator and facilitator in addition to being a writer, speaker, and coach.
I told myself the busier I was, the more accomplished I was. Except I never really felt accomplished, no matter how busy I happened to be. So, I beat myself up for not being better and continued to carry on with my busyness, hoping I would at some point feel better.
But the thing is, I just continued to feel worse. At first just mentally, but then physical symptoms seemed to pop up out of nowhere. My energy was waning. There were days I was too exhausted to keep up. I looked for clues in my diet. It was healthy, mostly organic and whole foods. I did cleanse after cleanse. I upped my green juice intake but my energy was still nose-diving daily.
So I did something I have never done before: nothing.
It’s funny how doing nothing was a lot harder than trying to do everything. It seemed so counterintuitive as I watched the busy world whirl around me.
My ego kept shouting at me. This and this and that needed to be done. I should really be doing this and why on earth wasn’t I doing that? Then it asked me, “Who do you think you are to do nothing?” and “Congrats. You’ve failed.”
But in the quietude that surrounded me, a little voice that had stayed silent during all those busy times whispered, “Thank you. You are on the right track.”
Here are some shockers I came to realize:
- Being busy does not make you a better person.
- Being busy is not synonymous with being successful.
If you know this already, I congratulate you. It took me years to uncover these simple truths.
As I let go of the beast of busyness, I embraced more of what life has to offer. Like the beauty that surrounds us in nature. A bird singing. Sharing a laugh with a friend (without glances down at a phone or other electronic device). Listening, really listening, to the people around you and, most importantly, turning up the volume on that inner voice of your soul and allowing it to lead you in the right direction.
Busyness keeps us doing. Allowing empowers us to be. Silence gives the soul space to breathe.
After decades of acting as a human ‘doer’, I finally entered the world as a human ‘being’. And, I must admit, it feels good. Of course I’m not perfect. I still fall back into the busyness abyss at times. But now I have some tools to pull me out of the busyness brigade and deliver me back to being.
If you are ready to release the beast of busyness in your life, here are a few suggestions to get you on your way:
1. Get clear on what’s important to you.
Let’s be morbid for a minute and say today is your last day on this earth. Are you happy with the life you lived? Was it fulfilling? Would you do anything differently? What may you have missed out on because you were too busy? Write it all down.
2. Exchange your ‘to do’ to list for a ‘to feel’ list.
I originally heard this brilliant idea from Danielle LaPorte. At the end of the day, we are searching for the feeling things bring us… we are not really searching for things at all – just feelings. So, what feelings do you want to focus on in your life?
3. Step away from technology.
Take some time daily to put down your phone, iPad and other electrical devices. Breathe deeply.
Sometimes the physical things surrounding you can cause chaos in your mind. Release items you no longer love or use. Create some space for joy. Surround yourself with things that light you up and put a smile on your face.
5. Schedule a daily date – with you.
Yes, you do have time for this. Take some time to check in daily with yourself. Give yourself some well-deserved gratitude. You can significantly change your life by doing this for just five minutes a day.
Start slowing down slowly and see how your life changes. Don’t wait until your body shuts down from too much busyness. Little changes go a long way and build on each other.
Sending you best wishes for a less busy and more joyful journey through life.