stop being busy

It was about 6 or 7 years ago when I had a conversation that changed my life. I was talking to my friend Laura and doing the normal ‘how have you been?’ exchange and before I answered, she preempted my response with ‘you’re so busy right?!’ And just like that, I decided something needed to change in my life. I decided to stop being busy in that instant.

Yes, it was true I was always occupied with one thing or another and if I’m honest, it still is true. I’m someone that always likes to be doing things and I’m okay with that. But to be honest, it wasn’t the busyness that bothered me, it was the fact I was a bore. Somewhere in between working, studying, running marathons and doing all the things, I’d stopped enjoying it. I was so busy being busy I wasn’t appreciating my life, my relationships or my achievements.

And so, just like that, I made the decision to change.

I decided that I would never answer a question by saying I was busy again. Instead, I’d talk about what was happening in my life. I’d actually reflect on my life and all the things that were keeping me busy. I’d share the highlights, and the lowlights for that matter, but I would no longer allow myself to just get caught up in the busyness of doing.

I stopped being busy just like that.

Now, this seemingly subtle shift was actually a game-changer. It became the catalyst for changing my life and my own personal growth process.

I started to take notice of the small moments in my day. I started to notice when I was happy and when I was just going through the motions. And then I began to eliminate the things that didn’t excite me.

That moment of conversation led to my subconscious shift to finding more fun and joy in my life. A turning point which has changed the course of my life for the better.

Tips to stop being busy

Now I know through my work with so many amazingly talented and successful women that I’m not alone. For so many of us, we are so busy accomplishing things we forget to have fun.

So if you can relate, here are my tips to quickly get unstuck and stop being busy.

  • Consider what takes up your time – Do you spend your time doing things you enjoy or have consciously chosen? Or are you occupied doing things you (or others) think you should be doing? For every activity, you should know why you are doing it
  • Stop doing things you don’t want to – After you’ve considered all your activities, cut the things from your schedule that you don’t want to do
  • Make the decision not to feel busy – Decide to reframe your thinking from being busy to living a full life with things you’ve chosen to do. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed or busy, reconnect with why you choose to do this activity and remember you have enough time to do all the things that matter
  • Appreciate what you are doing in the moment – be conscious of the activities that fill your days and find the enjoyment in them. A good way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal or log. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes and the more joy and fun you’ll have.

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