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You’re Not Busy …at least you shouldn’t be

not busyImage:

How can we be ‘not busy’?  I wrote about this a few months ago but I have been seeing it around me everywhere and have been thinking about it quite a bit lately.  Typically watching other people helps me learn more about myself and this is definitely one of those times.  My name is Lorilee and I am not busy–never…at least I try not to be.  You have the choice not to be busy either.

This post isn’t about schedules.  We all know we have control of our time and what we put into our schedule.  There is a really good chance that if you are reading this post your schedule is full, maybe even overflowing.  If you are wanting to live an intention life and live just a little (or a lot) against what society dictates than you probably have lots of things you are working on.  I do.

But you can have an overflowing schedule and still not be busy. (tweet this)

Technically in the dictionary the word busy isn’t a negative word, but in society it definitely comes across that way.

  • How are you doing?  ‘I’m so busy’ – meaning I have no control of my life.  I am struggling to stay on top of what I have to do but I feel like I am failing.
  • Want to come to (blank) party? ‘I’m too busy‘ – meaning I have more than I think I can do.  So much that I can’t take time out for fun because I might get behind.
  • Mommy, can you read to me? ‘I’m busy right now’ – meaning what I am doing now is important and can’t wait.

Busy seems to have the theme of  out of control, overwhelmed, living in the future, excuse for confused priorities, and failure.

This has nothing to do with a full schedule.  Your schedule could be more full than mine and you could decide to be less busy.

That is right – You decide to be ‘not busy’

Not trying to make it seem that easy… maybe it isn’t easy but it is simple.

It has been really fun working with all the contributors for You Can Do It Too – 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories.  These families are all really cool in their own way but this busy concept really jumped out at me over the last few weeks.  I have a full schedule but I am a minimalist (have almost no house to take care of) and only have two kids.  Some of the ladies I was working with had houses full of kids (some with special needs), all the housework that goes along with that, and at least one business on the side.  If anything, I thought, these women would be busy.  I sure don’t think any of them have extra time on their hands but the resounding theme from the majority was not a frazzled, busy, and behind housewife, mother, and teacher like one might expect.  Instead they seem to have full lives that they enjoy.

I figured if some of them could keep from getting the ‘busy’ mindset than I could too.

I am sure you know people in your life as well.  First there are people who accomplish a lot and have lots of responsibilities but always seem have time to talk.  Then there are people who run around all the time complaining of being busy that really don’t have that much to do… at least not enough to make them so crazy.

I don’t want to be busy because:

  1. It is depressing and overwhelming
  2. It is living in the future (with the consequences of not getting something done)
  3. It is selfish…focused on what I am doing, what I have to get done, what I… get the idea

Instead I want a full life:

I want to have lots of stimulating projects going – but they won’t control me

  1. I am in control of my life, where I spend my time, what I have committed to, what I do or don’t do
  2. I will live in the present enjoying moments that come my way everyday because work can wait (seriously, as much as we think it is a huge deal it usually isn’t)
  3. I will focus on others and relationships.  This isn’t my world, and nothing revolves around me.

How do I keep from feeling busy?

  1. Understand that not everything is going to be done
  2. Make sure I understand my priorities so that they are never the part that doesn’t get done.

Figure out what is the most important and do that first.  The 80/20 rule has been proven several times in business.  20% of the effort is responsible for 80% of the results (or more).  Doing the most important things first guarantees results.

Be open each day to what it has to give.  Maybe it will be more productive in some ways and maybe not.  Just work and live one day at a time 🙂  This doesn’t mean that you are always open to all distractions, it just means you can modify your day based on what it gives you and not just plow ahead with busyness.

Do you struggle with busyness?  (if you are reading RSS join us in the comments)

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  1. I really make an effort not to over commit and to even schedule transition time into my day, yet I always feel busy. Just taking care of my kids, the house, and my blog makes me feel busy. I struggle with this everyday.

    • Kids seem like they are constantly distracting. They distract everything else we try to do in the day. I have basically given up on getting focused time doing much. I just work at things as I can and deal with the kids as they come. … it isn’t that they day looks different, it is just how you look at the day 🙂

      • I started thinking it is my outlook. I definitely am hard on myself. I always think I should do more.

        • I think it is healthy that way. If we are always trying to do more, new, better than we can keep growing. We just need to be okay with not getting it all done 🙂

  2. Wow! That connected right where it hurts! I needed to hear that, tho. I’m going to make a serious effort to no longer wear ‘busy’ as a badge of honor! Somedays I am busy in the ‘chicken with the head cut off’ kind of way and I don’t like it. I like the days when I plow through a bunch of tasks and feel good about the accomplishments. I want more days of control and enjoying.

    • yeah, it has really been a struggle for me. I have been trying to consciously avoid the busy feeling. Sometimes there is more to do than others, and sometimes there is more distractions than others but usually the busy attitude (the chicken with the head cut off) is less productive… and way more stressful. 🙂

  3. Nice post. In one word – mindfulness.

    • thanks. It is amazing how much the world can change when we just change the way we look at it 🙂

  4. Love, love, love your ideas here. Yes! I believe that the “I’m busy” response is also a way for people to feel important. They equate busy with valuable.
    I agree totally with you. We make choices about what we do and do not do. Instead of saying “I’m too busy” we should say, “I choose not to do that so that I can do this.”

    • Yes 🙂 I still struggle sometimes but I am getting better at it.

  5. This is a great post about the importance of time management in your life. I think one line in this entire post sums it up “Understand that not everything is going to be done”. If you can get through your day and always remember that then you should be ok.

    • yep 🙂

  6. Yes, I struggle with busyness. I hate it because it’s always with something not very important at all. Great post. Thanks!

    • your welcome 🙂

  7. I just learned about the 80/20 rule and need to figure out how it applies to my life. I’ve recently started making a list of what I’d like to get done for the week and then giving myself credit for both the stuff I finish and the stuff I make some progress on. It makes me feel more productive and also less desperate to actually finish everything. So that’s helping. I also seriously need someone to take my email away! I am trying so hard to check it less, because it makes me feel so busy — things to reply to, things to add to the to-do list, and I’m in there so often that it means the important 20% doesn’t get done because I’m “busy” with email!!

    • have you read 4-Hour Work Week? Totally changed my perspective. Not that I have managed to figure it out, but it got me started 🙂

      • I literally just finished it two days ago. I listened to it on audio, so I didn’t get to take notes. It left me feeling vaguely inspired but also stunned. I think I need to get my hands on a print copy and go through it slowly 🙂

        • “feeling vaguely inspired but also stunned” Totally! I think we need people like him to challenge us a bit, really help us think out of the box on things 🙂

          • Absolutely. It sort of boggles my mind that anyone can think so totally outside the box on their own — but it’s inspiring, at the same time!

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