The Business of Being Busy

If there’s one thing I hate more than anything, it might be being busy. More specifically, being so busy that I don’t have time for the things that matter most to me. Aside from the week we spent in Florida (which was busy in a different way), the whole month has been busy, busy, busy. And what exactly have I been busy doing? I’m not all that sure.

Yesterday was International Day of Happiness and I completely missed it. I was busy with work. It was also the first day of Spring. I didn’t realize that until today. Yep, that business about being busy again. In fact, I’ve been so busy that this is the first time I’ve had a moment to write in over a week.

Some folks might think that busyness is a good thing. It certainly prevents boredom and ticking things off the to-do list does tend to make you feel accomplished. And if your busyness is connected to a vocation, there’s a good chance you may even be doing something important.

My mom is one of those folks that likes to stay busy. When she sits down to watch her favorite show, Chopped, she often tells me that she feels guilty for “wasting time”. Generally I fuss at her about this, making sure to hammer home the point that it’s okay not to be busy all the time. Kind of hypocritical of me, huh? Tell her one thing, then do another myself? Yes, I know, I need to do a better job.

My busyness this month has been the result of two things – first, I didn’t prioritize and second, I failed to make space for my own self in my schedule. The art of not being busy is serious business and requires a bit of effort to accomplish.

Some of my favorite minimalist bloggers – Joshua Becker and Leo Babauta – have a lot of good things to say about freeing oneself from the business of being busy. As a reminder to myself (and anyone else who suffers similarly), I’m paraphrasing some of them here.

Tips for Being Less Busy

  • Make a conscious choice to stop being busy. Busyness is a fool’s game. The more  you do, the more pops up to be done. If you want to be less busy, just decide to stop.
  • Establish priorities. Busyness is often a matter of misplaced priorities. Decide what things are most important to you (or the work you are doing) and schedule your time around those things.
  • Schedule time for yourself. Whether its an hour a day or a full day every week, everyone needs downtime and the best way to make sure you get it is to put it on the calendar.
  • Just say no to the things you don’t want to do. It’s absolutely okay to decline an invitation, refuse extra work, or avoid responding to a distraction (like a ringing phone or text message).

Tomorrow is Work-Free Wednesday for us. It’s the day we’ve set aside each week to do only those things that we want to do. No work allowed. Last Wednesday, we made the mistake of agreeing to babysit on our free day. Not that we don’t love and enjoy the little one but we spent the rest of the week feeling that we had missed our time-out time. I’m hoping this Wednesday is a reboot, a chance to reconnect with our less busy selves, and remember what it means to be unhurried (and unworried about it too). Starting tomorrow, we’re putting busyness out of business…one day at a time.

Weekly Progress to Happiness Goals Report (week ending 3/18)

    • No Spend Days = 5
      YTD = 39/200
    • Meatless Days = 5
      YTD = 34.5/144
    • Miles Walked/Hiked = 18.6/0
      YTD = 140.2/1,000 and 20.8/100
    • Decluttered Items = 0
      YTD = 217/2017
    • Side Hustle Income = $14.00
      YTD = $413.53/$1,825

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