I’ve decluttered and simplified a lot of the physical things in my life. Yet, when someone asks me how I’m doing, I find myself replying, “busy!”
I have the all-too-common problem of filling my schedule with things. Things I think I should do, things I feel obligated to do, things that I actually should do, all kinds of things. Most of which, are not that important. Before I know it, I’m busy, rushing, and overwhelmed with mental clutter.
When I get in this mindset, I even find myself feeling anxious when I take time to read and relax. I’m worried that I’m not being productive, and stress about what I should be doing instead.
I have a 13 month old little boy and he adds a crazy amount of happiness to my life. But, having a little one can also exasperate this tendency to always be rushing. He demands most of my attention, after all. Which means less time to do other things.
Yet, how great of a reminder are kids to stop piling so many things into our schedules? They simply enjoy living in the moment. He even smiles and dances when I sing. I’ll tell you right now, no adult is going to do that. I want to enjoy my time with him more, not be thinking about the ‘tasks’ that I’m not getting done.
Also, I’ll just say, I enjoy being productive. I love crossing things off my list and getting things done. It’s much harder for me to slow down than to speed up. Apparently, this time-urgency is common for type-A personalities like myself. But, it’s something I would like to fix. When I’m rushing about, I’m not enjoying the moment.
The busy, head swimming feeling is overwhelming, stressful, and can make me lose focus of the joys in life.
How to Take Back Your Time
Maybe you can identify with this. Do you find yourself busy and overwhelmed with everything you need to do? What can we do to stop and take back our time? Enjoy our lives more. Do the things we love. Just slow down.
I’m going to start with the following five ways:
1. Prioritize three important tasks to get done each day.
This will help me be a little more strategic about my daily schedule. Prioritizing three items will make me focus on what is most important. It will also keep me from doing a bunch of little tasks that don’t accomplish much. Do you ever look back on days and feel like you haven’t gotten anything done? I know I do.
2. Focus on one thing at a time.
Focus is so important when it comes to productivity and a clear mind. Yet, I constantly find myself attempting to multitask. I start a project and then jump to another before I’ve even finished the first. Suddenly, I have three things going at once and I feel like I’m treading water.
3. Be more present with one thing each day.
That might be my morning cup of coffee or playtime with my son. Rushing and busyness is a habit. By choosing to be completely present for a short while, I am breaking that habit.
4. Be more realistic about what I can get done in a certain timeframe.
I have a tendency to overestimate what I can accomplish. Doing so leads to busyness, rushing, and lower-quality work.
5. Stop opening so many tabs on my internet browser.
I know this might seem like it’s out of place. But, it’s something I struggle with. I leave tabs open in my browser for “when I have time.” Before I know it, I have 25 articles I want to read.
While having these “to read” items doesn’t necessarily make me want to rush, it does add mental clutter. This makes me lose focus and get into that busy mindset.
“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.”
— Francine Jay
I love this quote. It’s something I want to strive towards more in my daily life. Before piling things into my schedule, I want to stop and take a moment to think. Is this something that I actually need to do? Will it add value to my life? Will I be working towards the person I want to be?
It’s so easy to get carried away with everything going on in our day to day lives. Think about what you’ve been busy with lately and what you have stressed over. I know when I do this I find it’s often trivial things.
So, besides the above five steps, I’m going to take the time to step back and recognize what I am ‘busy-ing’ myself with. It may be an ongoing battle, but it will be a step in the right direction.