I’m with ya Carrie. The glorification of BUSY needs to stop.
Why? Because we’re ALL busy. I’m busy. You’re busy. Heck, even most of my friend’s kids are busy these days! And busy can be a good thing (like planning a trip to Africa) and it can be a bad thing (like working 16 hrs a day). I’ve even made ‘being busy’ the cornerstone of my business marketing! I’ve been on both sides of busy and I’ve most definitely defaulted to the ‘Ohmigawd, I’m crazy busy’ answer more times then I’d like to admit.
But here’s what I didn’t realize when I shot out that answer. It’s a sort of ‘conversation tranquilizer’…tell me you don’t feel a bit of ‘UGH’ when you read answers like these to the common and friendly question of ‘Hey, how ya doing?’:
- Ohimgawd, soooo busy. It’s been like NON-STOP since May! I’ve had to hire a personal concierge just so I can keep up with my dry cleaning!
- Ugggggh, I’ve been working 16 hour days, not to mention the jet lag from having to fly from LAX to JFK like 5 times a month for stupid meetings!
- I’m just so busy with the new house, my promotion to Senior V.P., and planning the trip to Bora Bora that I simply CANNOT find the time to get my pedicure done before the trip! Thank GAWD for the 10-minute manicure station at the airport!
Right?!? I mean, how do you engage in a conversation after THAT comes out?
Ok, so maybe those were a bit embellished but you get my point. We’ve got to stop flashing our ‘oh-so-busy’ badges because here’s how ‘busy’ breaks down, and for the most part, it ain’t pretty:
- a veiled apology “sorry, I’ve just been sooo busy lately”
- an excuse “I can’t make it to your party, I’m super busy this weekend”
- an attempt at receiving external validation – we joke about the line “I’m very busy and important”, but, ummm, it’s kinda true
All of those answers make the listener feel, well, crappy. Kinda like in ‘the old days’ when you’d call your friend all excited to share some great news and you’d get a busy signal (especially annoying if their number had a ‘0’ in it and you were calling from a rotary phone because that’s 5 seconds of your life you’re not getting back….but I digress).
Point is, no one likes a busy signal.
Same goes for trying to connect with someone and all they can tell you about is how super busy they are. It’s the nouveaux busy signal which equals a Conversation Tranquilizer.
But here’s what I’ve also learned…(cue record scratch)…
BEING BUSY IS A CHOICE.
Because somewhere along the way you said ‘yes’ to something that has lead you to this point. I said yes to staying in jobs that didn’t fulfill me and lead to burnout (over and over again). I said yes to not making an effort to meet people because I was just too damn tired (inaction is also a choice). I chose to make my career a priority over my health (over and over again)! How backwards is that?
And I know MANY of you reading this have made the same choices. However, it’s nothing to get upset over because the crazysexycool thing about choices is that you get to make new ones whenever you want!
So here’s a few ways you can stop being the ‘busy businesswoman’ and take back your life:
- Do a reality check – monitor just how busy you really are. Jot down how long you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, subscription emails, zoning out on TV, video games, dating sites, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. on any given day. Think about cutting down your time online or in front of the TV by 20%. That would then free up time to do other, more meaningful, things.
- Breathe – when you wake up in the morning, DO NOT GRAB YOUR PHONE and instead just sit in your bed with your eyes closed (I can sense your anxiety through this screen already, stay with me!) This can be for 1 second, or 10 seconds, or 10 minutes. Do whatever feels good to you. But all I want you to do is focus on your breath…notice the inhalation through your nostrils and feel the release as you exhale gently through your nose. This little bit of time will calm your mind and set your day off on the right foot before those feet even hit the floor. Trust me on this one….it works.
- Tell the truth – it’s hard to do sometimes, but if you truly don’t want to go to that party because you’d really just rather stay home in your jammies and curl up with Netflix for 5 hours then say so. Your loved ones deserve to hear the truth (and most often they’ll completely understand). If you feel you can’t say it, then you need to re-evaluate why it hurts to say it and maybe make an effort to go instead. But again, you can make a choice to only go for an hour or so and then still get a solid 3 – 4 hours with Netflix and feel good about making an effort for your friend.
- PLAY – make sure every single week you schedule, and prioritize, time for play or creativity. It’s important to have downtime, it refreshes and refuels us and connects us with ourselves and our loved ones. And play can be whatever you want it to be, provided it’s meaningful and not just numbing out. Hang out with a friend in person vs. on text. Have a dance party with yourself while you cook dinner. Paint or colour. Sing along to some classic tunes. Read that book that’s collecting dust on your nightstand. Do whatever makes your soul smile – BECAUSE YOU CAN CHOOSE TO DO SO.
And yes, super busy times WILL happen. Guaranteed. Life will throw you curveballs that leave you burning the midnight oil to get a presentation deck out for that 8am meeting. But in those truly busy times, I encourage you to be TRUTHFUL….with yourself AND with your loved ones. If you sincerely can’t see them for that lunch you had scheduled, be courageous (and courteous) enough to tell them why but that you’ll definitely make them a priority next week once that meeting is done. You’ll feel good, they’ll feel good, and the whole world will breathe a little easier because of your honest effort. It may not STOP the busy cycle, but at least you can hit PAUSE on it and enjoy life before it’s gone.
How about you? Which side of the busy coin are you on? Are you really busy or just making excuses? Are you telling the truth or hiding behind that busy shield of yours so you can avoid dealing with what’s really going on? If you do feel as though your life is too dang hectic, where can you cut back? How can you nurture and renew yourself on a daily basis? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear them as I truly feel ‘being too busy’ is something we all struggle with and can learn from together. 🙂