How often do we all say this – ‘I’m so ridiculously busy’, ‘I’m just flat out’, ‘Haven’t got time to scratch myself’, ‘ I need another day or two in the week’ ….. and the list goes on. We all seem to do it these days; we all seem so overwhelmed by work and life things we need to do, we are just so ridiculously busy.
What is making us all this way – are we doing it to ourselves? Certainly work can be busy, and we are paid to do a full day of work, so I guess that goes with the territory of being paid. Most of us can leave our work place then go out or home before starting the following day and doing it all over again. So perhaps yes work is busy as it is suppose to be.
What about everything we need to do outside our 8 or even 10 hour work day? We have a life, hobbies, family, kids, sports, and the list seems to keep extending. As my husband says to me when I start feeling overwhelmed – “You are in charge of your diary” meaning I can usually choose what to do, what not to do or when and if I wish to do it. That is about right for most of us actually.
If we do take a minute and think, or list in our diary, what it is we actually do in our busy day we may be surprised of the ‘stuff’ we need to do and what you don’t. When I have done this myself or with clients, it is surprising to find we do actually have some ‘down time’, we just don’t notice we do. We fill up that down time checking up on Facebook messages, watching a funny YouTube video and talking about stuff with others. We can usually find considerable time during our really busy day.
Do we really need to go to the Gym every day or two (perfect if we can), check social media that regularly, fluff around doing ‘stuff’ we really do not need to be doing. We all do this, even though we pretend we don’t.
Years ago I use to teach time management to corporate heads and executives. The hours each week we could find was surprising. In an article written 2013 by Dr. Susan Koven who practices internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital she wrote: “In the past few years, I’ve observed an epidemic of sorts: patient after patient suffering from the same condition. The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain, and weight gain. There are no blood tests or X-rays diagnostic of this condition, and yet it’s easy to recognise. The condition is excessive busyness.” BUSYNESS she said, not anxiety, or stress or pressure, but busyness.
I am very big on teaching self-talk techniques to improve our lives, thoughts and behaviour. This continued talk about being so ‘busy’ is quite negative as we perceive being so busy detrimentally, having to rush, cram and worry which can then result in us feeling anxious and stressed. All of which results in a decline in mental and physical health. And we are doing this to ourselves.
I use to always complain how busy I was, not enough time, wish I had another day or three a week. When I took a moment to ask the reason why I was doing this to myself I questioned – why and is there a smarter way? We are after all, intelligent people and the smarter we get the worse we are at time managing our busy life. I now elect to change my self-talk and say ‘my day is very full’ knowing this is my choice.
If I choose to write a paper, take on those extra clients, have lunch with a friend, go for a walk, spend time with family; this is all my choice, although I have become brilliant at multi-tasking. I can dictate a paper, cut up vegetables and keep an eye on the news broadcast while walking past my gorgeous husband and give him a hug or kiss. Time management at its best. So how do we rearrange our life to manage our busy days better so we are not detrimentally affected?
- Adjust your self-talk to say ‘my days are really full’ instead of how ridiculously busy you are
- Set up 30 minutes blocks to undertake certain activities. As an example, to write this Blog I allocated 30 minutes. If I am writing an academic paper, I allocate 2 hours, (sometimes over many days)
- Allocate a minimum of 30 minutes to you each day to do whatever you want – gym, walk, talk on the phone, coffee with friend
- Ensure you have a balance in your life, not just work, but a balance for work, kids, partner, and of course you.
Fact is, we do have full lives and these full lives are partly our own selection and choice.