I now laugh at how busy I used to be. I was serious about my ability to be polished in every area. I got caught up in the trap of busyness thinking I could have it all: the excellent wife badge, world class home manager, financier extraordinaire, queen bee of business and volunteer warrior. I believed I could do it all, and that this was the path to peace. All I needed to do was keep all those plates in the air!
I was convinced that those who ‘appeared’ to have it all were doing it all, so I wanted to look as good as everyone else. I also believed everything had to be done one way, no shortcuts! What I experienced, however, was a different story. I learned that doing it all made me exhausted. Doing it all cost me relationships with those that mattered most to me. Doing it all caused me stress, loss of sleep and anger when my world was out of my control. My busyness was less productive and more chaotic than I ever imagined.
Becoming less busy was not an accident, but a decision I made intentionally. I made the decision that a busy life wasn’t a life for me. Being a good person, loving wife, mother and friend…that was the life I wanted. Next to that, I wanted the freedom to pursue things I was passionate about instead of the things that weighed me down. Until I purposefully left a life of chronic busyness, I couldn’t see how futile it was.
The snare of busyness is that you can be so busy, that you don’t even recognize that you are in trouble. You can be so overwhelmed that you can’t figure out how to change. You can become so accustomed to being busy that you create more work to organize your life so you can be even busier with the hopes of accomplishing more. And, for what? I was miserable and yet trying to create more misery. A catch-22.
You may be caught up in the busyness trap, if…
- You respond to “how are you?” with “crazy busy” or “busy but good”
- You spend time worrying about how busy you are going to be tomorrow
- You get angry when your spouse or others aren’t as busy as you
- You are up at night thinking about everything you didn’t get done
- You let people know how late you stay at work or how much you get done
- You zone out during conversations thinking about all you have to do
- You volunteer for things you don’t care about
- You spend time complaining about how overwhelmed you feel
- You make list after list to make sure you don’t forget anything
- You regularly eat in your car or on the go
- You use a phone in the car because “it’s the only time you have to talk”
If you are anything like I was, you are busy because you want to be or because you don’t know how to be un-busy. You are busy out of misdirected guilt because you think if you do enough, you will be enough. When you decide that it is acceptable to create a life-by-design, you can eliminate the thief that busyness can become, and start doing things that matter. You can talk about your meaningful day instead of ranting about your busy schedule. Decide today that you are enough, even if you never accomplish another thing that causes heads to turn. You are still enough!
How to be less busy
- Be unproductive on purpose
- Limit the times you check email each day
- Delete email and toss mail that you don’t need to read
- Turn your phone and computer off when you aren’t working
- Turn everything off in the car (except the car)
- Put your iPad down
- Help someone
- Do less, be more
- Stop trying to keep up, measure up or catch up
While you may think you are making sacrifices for others by being busy, you are likely sacrificing those same relationships you think you are saving. Get real and consider what is most important to you. Then do that first. The rest will wait.
Practice guarding your life from the thief of busyness...
~ Sheri xo
If you have enjoyed this post, please share with other fabulous women who are ready to create a life-by-design!
Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*
*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ!
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