“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau
We function in a society where it’s not only an ideal to always be busy, it’s also considered to be ideal. When someone asks how we’re doing, “busy” is usually the first thing that comes out of our mouths. We often consider people who are always hectically busy to be prospering in their personal life and their business. Many of us display our workaholic tendencies like a badge of honor that everyone else should admire.
When you really think about it, there’s nothing clearly appealing about always being busy. I have to admit that I used to believe that one should aim to be busy all the time, but most of my self-care went out the window. My stress levels increased, and I was often overwhelmed. I’m still practicing not always being busy, and creating more down time for myself. If you’re ready to be proactive and overcome the plight of chronic busi-ness, here are 5 helpful tips to guide you.
1. Scheduling time for yourself is a must
To schedule downtime might seem far-fetched, but if you don’t do this you will likely seldom practice self-care. The best scenario is that self-grooming, yoga, meditation, dates with your significant other, etc. are added to your digital calendar. If this step isn’t taken, they can fall by the wayside. If you have ever heard the proverb, “Physician, heal thyself,” it applies directly to self-care. If you want to help others, you have to take care of yourself first.
2. Practice delegating
I’m fairly certain that most people who know me well would describe me as having a ‘Type A’ personality. The more experienced I get as an organizer, the more I realize I have to let go of my perfectionism ask others to help me. Delegating tasks is essential to your success as an employee, business owner, parent, or any other role, to avoid burning out and feeling overwhelmed all the time. Since I have started to delegate more and more tasks, I have been able to focus more on the areas of my life that matter to me most, including my fiancé, family, and traveling.
3. Convert to a digital calendar system
The time has arrived when fancy paper calendars are mostly obsolete, except perhaps for large desk calendars. Handheld paper calendars can become burdensome to carry around, and they can get destroyed or lost permanently (along with all of the information in them). We are often prone to over-scheduling when we use them because they aren’t streamlined, which leads to missing important items and disorganized time management.
Once you convert to using a digital calendar as your primary scheduling system, you can easily book appointments and set up alerts and reminders that keep you on task. It’s painless to edit items and move them around, and to send invites to others. This prevents you from double-booking meetings and appointments. Finally, you are able to sync your calendar between your smartphone, computer, tablet, or other electronics.
4. Brain dump and get most important tasks done early
Do a “brain dump” every morning to get all of the things you need to do out of your head. After your done typing or writing everything, you can organize them into 4 categories:
- Tasks you want to do, but don’t need to do;
- Tasks you want and need to do;
- Tasks you don’t want to do, but don’t need to do;
- Tasks you don’t want to do, but need to do.
After you have all of the items categorized, you can prioritize them. Start your work with the last section: tasks you don’t want to do, but you have to do them. Because you lack the motivation to do them, they are the ones you are most likely to procrastinate doing. Once you get them out of the way, you will be inspired to get the other categories done because the tasks that appeal the least are already completed. The momentum you build from this accomplishment will help you to sail through the rest of your day with ease.
5. Stop wearing “crazy busy” as a badge of honor
It can really be a struggle not to always respond that we are ‘crazy busy’ every time someone asks how we’re doing. Try to limit how often you use the word “busy” to describe yourself. If you can manage to do this, it will help you to connect with other feelings you have besides being burnt out and overwhelmed.
My challenge for you is to apply as many of these tips as you can to supercharge your daily productivity. Tear off that “crazy busy” badge of honor, and follow these steps to take care of yourself and bring more calm and peacefulness into your life!