5 Lessons in Becoming Less Busy
I’m pretty sure busy is bullshit. Or at least all the problems we blame busy for…are bullshit.
Messy house, messy energy… too busy.
Didn’t call mom, feeling guilty… too busy.
Haven’t worked out, feeling like crap as a result… too busy.
Staying in the miserable job because the resume needs work… too busy.
The paint brushes and canvas laying untouched for months, even though the creative outlet lights you up… too busy.
The leg pain hurts. Been hurting. Doctors are such an ordeal, though… too busy.
Keep pushing back the dream trip… too busy.
Dating, shmating. Prince Charming requires so much effort… too busy.
The pile of books by the best stand… too busy
Too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Too busy. Too busy.
But too busy for WHAT?
For all of the important things in your life? The ones that bring you joy? That light you up? That make your heart sing? The little things that characterize your soul and exemplify your love?
And too busy WITH what? Work? Commitments? More work and more commitments that you just kept saying yes to without thinking about what it would take or what you would need to do to protect your time.
Even though busy feels hard, because you’re tired and out of whack and never have enough time for what you want to do, it’s actually quite easy. It’s the easier thing to do. To be busy, that is.
It makes everyone around you happy (because you’re not saying no). It makes you feel important (because you’re just so busy), and it requires no backbone or courage.
Yesterday, I’d just returned from a few crazy weeks full of travel, adventure, naps, workshops, social hours, trains, jet lag, and more. Finally getting home was a relief. It was grounding. It was peace. I didn’t have anything planned for my first day home except loads of catching up on work, unpacking, and copious amounts of green smoothies and hot tea.
Until one of the bests called. “Let’s go on a walk. 2 p.m. Landsend.” Yes, duh. Fresh air. Beautiful San Francisco day with one of my goddesses. Movement. Much needed catch-up because so much happened while I was away. I’m in!
I called her back 30 minutes after saying YES, to say no. “Beb, I gotta un-commit. I need today to get back on track. Can we Facetime later today instead?”
And that’s how you become un-busy.
It’s not easy. It doesn’t always feel good. But you must remember what you need versus what you might sometimes want.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the slow process of becoming less busy:
- Busy is bullshit. It’s a cover for not wanting to do the harder work. Like saying no. Or sitting in your shit.
- When you slow down you might feel irrelevant. The ego is a crazy thing.
- Rushing rips your energy. Don’t do it. Plan ahead.
- Say no to others so you can say yes to yourself. Probably the greatest gift of them all.
- Dreams don’t happen because you’re busy. They happen because you’re intentional. Because you’ve made space to move the right things forward.
If you’re perpetually busy, try asking yourself, “What am I hiding from?”
It’s likely that you’re subconsciously building up walls so that you don’t have to get into the arena and have a chance to fail. The busy wall gives you an excuse to not have to try, which means there’s no chance to fall flat on your face.
But trust me. You’ll never ever regret having gone for it. You’ll only regret that you were always too busy to ever try.
Maxie McCoy is a writer and speaker with a message: how to find and follow inspiration for a life you’re obsessed with. Maxie delivers inspiring writings, actionable video, and customized sessions on MaxieMcCoy.com. She also develops curriculum and offline experiences for the Millennial career website, Levo. When she’s not crafting sentences or rocking stages, you can find Maxie surfing her favorite wave in Bali or painting with some shade of gold.