“How are you?”
“Oh you know, super busy as usual.”
How often do you hear a response like this from a loved one or colleague? How often do you give this response yourself? If you’re anything like me – the answer to both of these questions is probably “ummm, A LOT.”
Life can be busy. So much to do, so little time. I get it! Like you, I juggle lots of balls. Between running my own business, caring for my toddler while my husband works in a different city, and managing many other obstacles in family and personal life, I am always ‘busy’. To be honest, I think I even like it that way. I’m not the type of person who can sit around watching TV for hours. That just isn’t me. I like exploring, creating, connecting and doing.
Having said this though, I’m also a huge self-care advocate. We must make caring for our mind, body, and soul a priority in order to live healthy, happy and purposeful lives. I believe this is essential in order to truly be of service to ourselves, our loved ones and the world.
So how does one do this when they are so busy? When they are constantly feeling like they are fighting the clock and time is racing by way too quickly?
In this three part busy mindset blog series, I provide a number of tips that have helped me, and many of my clients, become less busy and ‘find time’ for themselves and their own needs. I hope they help you also.
This first edition to the busy mindset blog post series will focus on your mindset and how changing your thinking about time might reduce the level of overwhelm you are experiencing.
Consciously focus on changing your busy mindset
We often fall into the trap of having a busy mindset, gradually becoming addicted to being busy, and even celebrating or boasting about how busy we are. We are so used to feeling like we don’t have time, that we seem to resist finding ways to create it.
For many, the most important step in ‘finding time’ is to change their busy mindset. To recognise that this isn’t a healthy way to think, and consciously decide to ‘get busy’ about becoming less busy.
Give yourself permission to start freeing up your schedule, to give yourself space for your personal needs and desires, and to just be. Make ‘not busy’ time a non-negotiable in your life.
Below are some suggestions for how you can focus on changing your busy mindset:
- Start to pay attention to the way you think and talk about time and busyness. When you start to get anxious or stressed about time, pay attention to your internal dialogue – what are you telling yourself? When you hear yourself telling people how busy you are – pay attention to what you are saying to them. Start to track these conversations and reflect on whether they are automatic responses or repetitive mental ‘mix tapes’. Start to challenge their truth and validity. Start to think about how you can change your automatic ‘mix tapes’ and start talking and thinking about time in a more positive light.
- Make a conscious decision that you’re going to stop being busy. Commit to yourself that you and ‘busy’ are breaking up – and you’re going to do whatever you can to make that charismatic and charming no-good dirtbag stay out of your life for good. Put on your I’m-Not-Going-To-Be-Busy-Glasses and stubbornly start looking for ways to be less busy, or to at least not let ‘busy’ control your life and emotions so much.
- Make a conscious effort to change your perception of time. Start to talk about time as if it is your friend. Resist the compulsion to frequently tell people how busy you are – and try to rephrase how you speak about time in a more positive light. Perhaps you can focus on what you’re achieving instead – for example, “I’m good, thank you. I just got a new project at work that has given me an opportunity to expand my skills and I’m about to move into a beautiful new home too.” We often feel like we don’t have time, because we are frequently telling people that we don’t – when we often have more time than we realise and/or we are filling our time with things of our own choosing.
- Reflect on ways that you can remind yourself to ‘tune up’ your mindset when it comes to time. When we commit to becoming less busy and more friendly to ‘time’, we can often easily slip back into our busy mindset, especially when we are stressed and genuinely feeling busy. It can help to write a list of ways that you can remind yourself to be aware of your perception and mindset around time – and to continue to focus on being less busy. You could put a reminder in your phone or on your office wall – or even write a little mantra on your To Do list each day. It is important to use a mantra or reminder that ‘speaks to you’, but some examples include: ‘Self care is just as important as every item on my To Do list’, ‘Time is becoming my friend”, “Time IS my friend”, “Time is on my side”, “I am making friends with time”, “I have the power to change how I think about time”, “I have all the time I need”, or “I have plenty of time and I choose how I spend it”.
In the meantime, I’d love to know in the comments below – what is your current mindset around busyness and time? And what is one thing that you can do to try and make a positive shift this coming week?
Let’s soar together,