I am an expert on being too busy. In fact, in the past, if there were a busy badge, I would definitely have received one. I was a full-time employee, a mom and in the process of losing over 60 pounds of excess weight (which entailed 6 workouts/week and making healthy meals that the whole family would eat). I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. All I could think about each day was when my next vacation was scheduled, and that’s when I knew something had to change; one shouldn’t only enjoy life when on vacation. As with any journey, it took me some time to figure out how to move from being busy to feeling happy and full. However, I was eventually able to achieve it!
5 Ways to Find More Time
1. Stop Using the Word “Busy”
When someone asks you how you are doing, do you reply with “busy”? Don’t worry, no judgement, we all have done it, but here is some tough love: Everything you have on your plate, you put there. Let me repeat; everything you have on your plate, you put there.
This was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me. For example, when I decided to take on another project at work and not vocalize that I was swamped and could not fit in another project, I made that choice. When I decided to workout every day (and still do) and spend time away from my family to do so, I made that choice. When I decided to watch TV…you get the picture. If I decided all these things, why was I “too busy”? I made a decision that if everything I was doing was my choice and I wanted to do these things, that my day was FULL.
It’s not just changing the word you use, it’s so much more. It’s a whole mindset shift. Instead of your day being busy, it is full because you chose your day. When you realize that the reason you are busy, is well, because of yourself, you start giving up the things in your day or week that do not serve you.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
If you feel you are too busy to do the things you really want to do, what can you do now to make room? For example, when I was working that 9-5 job, there were 2 things I wanted to do for certain, make a healthy dinner for my family, and workout. To make room I choose to keep my children in daycare longer. Should I have felt guilty that I was not spending time with my kids? No, because I quickly found that taking some time for myself to be healthy made me a better mom and wife. Now I choose to work from home, teach fitness morning and night, coach after hours and consult during the day. I work when I want, exercise when I want, and always pick up my kids from the bus in the afternoon. Is it any less full? No, but I definitely chose it!
3. Know Your Value
Now, there are things you have to do in life in order to survive, like earn an income. I know there are many people out there who feel that if they did not have to work at their current job, they would not. Equally, there are people who love what they do and would love more hours in a day to do even more (I think a lot of Indie Chicks fall into this category)! However, if you are in the “I have to go to work” group, this one is for you.
Many times in a workplace, we forget how important we are to the organization. If a workplace wants to keep you, they will do what it takes to keep you. I did this with my workplaces by setting certain hours that fit my schedule and still provided the same service of work as a 9-5 schedule (let’s be honest, there is a limited amount of hours you are really productive at work). I understand this may not be an option for you as it depends on your workplace. Millennials are changing the face of the workplace. Many men and women are choosing to have a work-life balance and a fulfilling career over having more money, and companies are listening. This tip will likely be a moot point in 10 years!
4. It’s Okay to Say No
There is no badge for being busy. Trust me, I know, I have not received one yet and I am certain I would be a candidate! I’m going to be honest, I used to use being busy as a badge of honor. However, in reality, I was a hot mess of an exhausted-yelling-stressed-out-angry woman whose only goal at the end of the day was to sleep. Sometimes, I would make myself busier so I wouldn’t have to look inside and see that I was not happy, even if on the outside, my life looked like I should be ecstatic.
How do you combat this one? Say NO. Could I go out with friends? Sure! Did I want to go? Nope, so I said no. Do I book my kids up for activities after school? Nope, unless they really show interest, there are no weekday activities. And if there is one, they get one activity a season. Running around for the sake of running around serves nobody.
Of course, you don’t deny yourself of every event in life; only the ones that you know are not working for you. I definitely do not suggest passing up on new opportunities that enhance your life; I do suggest finding out which events serve you and which ones can go!
5. You Have to Really Want It
What does this mean? A whole onslaught of excuses can be made to avoid doing the things you really want. These are more behavioral, and you really have to want whatever it is you would like to achieve. Maybe it is health, maybe a new business venture, maybe you want some rest or maybe a family. That means changing the things that are not working for you to reach your goal and/or create the lifestyle you deserve. One thing is for certain, you don’t have time for excuses!
In the end, you create the life you want to live. Usually, when we say we are too busy we are complaining. If you really love what you are doing and how you are living then you are not too busy. You are living life to the fullest; so say that! So, the next time someone asks you how you are doing, try a more honest answer and see where that conversation takes you!
Image credit: Shutterstock