“How have you been lately?”
“Are you busy this weekend?”
“I’m always busy.” You say as you sigh, roll your eyes and crumple into a heap.
This refrain is the default response for most people, whether said at work, with friends or at home. I’m sure it’s true – you ARE busy, but so is everyone else!
Our society at large has placed ‘busyness’ as a status symbol. What kind of status is yet to be seen? It doesn’t make us happier, more productive, or more available to those who care about us or who need our care.
In fact, it often means we are guilty of misusing our time.
OUCH! If that one landed deeply, then this article is for you.
If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed and nearly to the point of burn out, you are guilty – Guilty of not adjusting and managing your time to bring you the most fulfillment.
“But, but, but…” you snap back and follow up with several of the next sentences…
My kid isn’t sleeping through the night…
My boss has me working late…
I’m responsible for this project or that project…
I don’t have help at home…
My kids keep my priorities constantly shifting…
My side-hustle requires hustle while I’m juggling other things…
I run my own business…
I’m a solopreneur…
My to-do list is a mile long and growing…
I have twins/triplets/quadruplets (Ok, this might be a legitimate excuse, but you get the point.)
You claim that you’ve tried everything…time blocking, prioritizing your top 3 for the day, simply saying no, but nothing seems to work. You are starting, if not already there, feeling resentful – resentful to your husband, your kids, your friends, and your family. No one can possibly be as busy, underpaid and overworked as you.
See how we are back to the badge of honor? You are not going to get a golden trophy, a fancy metal or even a placard engraved with your busyness aptitude score. There is nothing you can possibly win and if you are seeking martyrdom, well, I hate to break it to you, sister, but you’ll have to be dead to get one of those.
Let’s be honest, you’re lying to yourself.
Your first step is recognizing that you are not good at time management. Ouch, twice. I know that one hurt, especially for the gotta-have-it-all modern social insta-ready fierce female you are. Admitting, but then accepting this as truth will save your life!
Trust me when I tell you, I am not writing this preaching from my high pulpit. I have struggled through this personally, not giving myself a fair shake or an honest evaluation. This first step is a doozy, but absolutely necessary.
Most of us spend our lives prioritizing urgent activities like; answering emails, replying to immediate requests, you know, the day-to-day stuff. In between, we fill it with immediate gratification activities like; checking Instagram, watching cat videos or viewing Facebook because you deserve a break too, right?
Very few of us really know how to prioritize our lives by organizing the important activities like; learning, health, relationships, you know, – goals.
Let me break this down. Every time you say you are busy, you are actually saying that you can’t prioritize your own life.
Harsh, but if you are not clear on the important things in your life, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you can’t achieve them. You become addicted to busyness because at least you have a common excuse others ‘understand’.
How do I get out of this madness?
Put on the brakes and S-L-O-W D-O-W-N! It may seem counter intuitive at first. How can I get to the exponentially compiling mound of things to do if I’m just sitting here, you may ask?
It’s all about priorities
We’re all busy. We all have jobs to do and bills to pay. However, if you start using this as your constant excuse as to why you can’t do something, you’re only stopping yourself from doing something that you really want.
You need to become an expert on YOUR priorities!
If you aren’t clear on your priorities, you will continually run into trouble trying to balance everything.
You may have been a full-on nerd about your priorities before you had kids. You had vision boards, goals journals, post-it notes, you name it, it was up ready to motivate you every morning to stay on track.
When your child was born, you looked at that tiny face and vowed to always take care of them. Your priorities took a major shift, which you may or may not have recognized. You placed them front and center at priority number one.
The sleepless nights, heightened responsibilities and everything that goes with having children can ensure most parents are in a perpetual state of exhaustion and overwhelm. If you didn’t take the time then to re-evaluate, you are not alone.
But what happens next is a natural progression, your needs, dreams and relationships can take a back seat. In essence, you are placing yourself in the backseat. Do that too long and it festers and bubbles to the top as resentment.
Resentment is the acid that can erode any bond, no matter how solid you think it is. Whether it’s with your husband, your partner, your family or even your children.
To be a good parent, your kids have to come first, right?
NO! YOU should and need to come first.
It starts with you!
You must commit to making time for yourself. Getting caught up in the details of life can cloud your vision around what’s most important to you. You need to become an expert on YOUR priorities.
Make a date with yourself. Set aside an afternoon or a block of time where you shut off your phone, put pen to paper and tell yourself that, even though you have a million things going on, this is a priority. YOU are a priority!
Then answer these questions:
When you think about how you want to live your life, what exactly comes to mind?
Be sure to do this practice periodically – check in with yourself as you would a good friend. If you’ve found that your priorities have changed. This is not a bad thing. Over time you mature and you need to just re-prioritize what’s most important to you. You are not the same person you were before, during or even after kids. You are not a static being – you are constantly evolving!
Someday in the future, your children will leave you to go create their lives and follow their dreams.
Did you lead by example? Did you show them how to live life fully, by making mistakes and growing into an ever-changing better version of you? Were you a good role model? Or were you just gaining invisible busyness points – too busy to live your life on your terms?
Your needs and dreams are always valid!
Embody those and live fully – not busily.