First published on Huffington Post – 8 May 2016
Most of us slog our way through every day.
The alarm goes off after what seems like way too little sleep, we force ourselves out of bed and out into the day.
We’re constantly sick and bordering on exhaustion. We lack motivation, drive and energy. We drive ourselves to the brink because our social conditioning has taught us that ‘life wasn’t meant to be easy’ and we have to ‘work hard to get ahead’.
Our time is very rarely our own.
‘I’m so busy’ has become the pre-requisite for proving that your life is a success.
We get out of bed in the morning and work really hard to polish our ‘busy badges’ until they shine. We proudly pin them to our lapel and then go out into the day to see what else we can add to our schedule that will make our badges gleam even brighter. We’re totally consumed by the ‘busy-off’ we’re caught in, but most of us aren’t even conscious that we’re competing for the title.
Sure we’re sick, tired, exhausted and often run down, but we power through so that we can show how resilient and tough we are; after all, we’ve got a busy trophy to win and slowing down would be automatic disqualification from the game.
It doesn’t matter that we’re totally overwhelmed by how much ‘stuff’ we have on the go at any one time. We have a thousand balls in the air and our inner critics are devastatingly harsh if perchance we drop one. Often we aren’t conscious that we’ve taken on too much until something happens to bring us up short.
When was the last time you stopped to look at what you’re actually busy with? What if being busy is just a fad – and, like all fads, doesn’t serve you well – in fact may be slowly and quietly killing you?
If you sat down and gave names to all the balls you have in the air right now, what would you say about them? Are they worthwhile activities? Do they enrich your life? Are they things you’re doing because you couldn’t say ‘No?’ or are they things you’re doing because you didn’t know how to say ‘No?’ Do you want to be doing them? If you could take your pick from the list, which ones would you choose?
Often we’re so caught up in the competition of being busy that we end up doing many things we don’t want to do, and very few of the things that we love and that really enrich our lives. We drain our energy and drive ourselves to the brink of exhaustion by running around being everything to everyone and ignoring our own needs.
Worse still, we’re so busy being caught in the competition of being busy that we don’t stop to ask the questions we should ask – the ones that can really change our lives, change our direction and change our health and wellbeing.
Busy is a badge that we can put down.
Instead of saying ‘Yes’ to everything, test new requests and opportunities with the question ‘how does this feel?’ If it helps you to quit the struggle in your life and brings a sense of relief then you can be pretty sure it’s a good thing for you to being doing. If there’s an ounce of struggle associated with it then you need to question whether you should be adding it to your life.
This process means you can make conscious decisions about what happens in your life. Being more conscious with our decision making will mean we can choose to fill our lives with activities that re-energise us rather than drain us.
Our social conditioning has driven us to the life we lead today. It’s our choice as adults whether we continue on that same path or choose to alter our lives and live in a different way.
What choice will you make today?
There are loads of tips and tricks on how to think and live differently in ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from my website or call me on +61 438 624 868 to discuss how I can help you to implement small steps to simplify your life.