Let’s discuss the reasons you should stop being “busy” all the time and how to change your thoughts and actions to be less busy.
Reasons to stop saying “I’m busy”
1. Everyone is busy.
It’s true – everyone is busy.
Some people may appear less busy than you. Perhaps they work less or don’t have kids or have “less” important jobs. But you have no idea what’s going on in their life. Your “busy” and their “busy” may look entirely different.
Remember that you have a lot going on in life, and so does everyone else.
2. No one is impressed by your busyness.
Okay, I know this sounds harsh. But it’s true.
How often has someone told you how busy you are and you felt impressed? Probably zero times.
You’re more likely to have pity for them or feel overwhelmed just hearing about their life.
3. Being “busy” shows that you don’t have control over your life.
There are some people who have incredibly full lives – high powered careers, multiple children, and community leadership roles – yet they never come across as frantic or busy. These people don’t run late to meetings and aren’t constantly stressed. They are also fully present in each moment.
Let’s all aspire to be one of these people.
4. Your importance at your workplace (or in life) does not come from being busy.
Most importantly, you are important simply because you are here on planet earth.
But beyond that, your importance in the workplace doesn’t come from how busy you are. It comes from the value you provide to your boss and team.
How to stop being busy
Change your mindset.
Natalie Bacon taught me that overwhelm and busyness is all in your head. My mind was blown when I heard this. I thought busyness came from the events on my calendar, not the way I thought about those events.
But it’s true – being busy really is all in your head. Some people have a lot going on and are still able to remain calm and present in every moment. Other’s appear frantic. So what’s the difference? It’s their mindset.
Here are steps you can take to change your mindset:
1. Change your thoughts that are creating your feeling of “busy.”
Your thoughts create your feelings (which creates your actions and results). In order to change your feeling of “busy” or “overwhelm” you must change the thought you have about your circumstance.
Perhaps you have a lot of meetings on your calendar and a lot of upcoming deadlines. You think – “Woah, this is a lot, how am I ever going to get this done?” So you feel very busy.
But what if you had the same circumstance (lots of meetings and deadlines), and you thought- “Woah, there is a lot of opportunity in the next couple of weeks to show how capable I am. This is a great opportunity for me to pull through for my boss and my team.”
With this thought, you will feel excited to do the work. You will bring positive energy necessary to get things done.
You can also change your thoughts by changing your vocabulary. Remove busy from your vocabulary and say “full.” Full is a positive word.
2. List out all the tasks you have to do and put them in your calendar.
This way, your mind won’t be racing with that long to-do list. You know that you’ve already planned ahead when you’re going to take care of all those little things.
3. Measure results not tasks
What’s better than putting all those tasks on your calendar? Putting the results you are going to achieve. As you measure results, you’ll be motivated to reach that result and you’ll make progress much more quickly.
Minimize what you have to do.
4. Put systems in place.
I love time blocking my calendar. My life became so much easier when I implemented a power hour where I get things done. I also use my time blocking calendar to make the most of my time. This helps prevent me from feeling busy.
5. Outsource tasks.
I know this is a luxury that’s not available to everyone. But if your budget can handle it, you can feel less busy simply by doing less.
Consider what your most annoying chore/task is and think about how you can go about outsourcing it.
6. Recognize that not doing things is an option
I love this idea that I got from Tiffany Dufu’s book Drop the Ball: Achieve More by Doing Less. Tiffany Dufu and her husband created MEL – a management excel spreadsheet – that contains all the home tasks and responsibilities that need to happen. They had columns where they could assign specific tasks to specific people, such as Tiffany, her husband, and even no one.
“No one” was the real epiphany. They could decide certain tasks just didn’t need to be done by anyone. As Tiffany Dufu says “Assigning what doesn’t get done is just as important as assigning who does what.” Check out this video of Tiffany Dufu describing the importance of a “no one” column.