Busy-ness. It’s become like a badge of honor or (oddly) something people boast about. The almost default answer to “How are you?” seems to be a variation of “I’m really busy”. At times a conversation turns into a contest about who is the most busy. Often said in a humble-brag kind of way.
Sometimes I get the sense that we equate busy-ness with self-importance, self-worth and being productive. (I certainly can fall into this trap). Maybe not consciously, but on a subconscious level.
Or we keep busy as an avoidance mechanism. To avoid unhappiness in our life, to avoid the negative thoughts that plague our minds, to avoid accomplishing goals (gives an excuse).
Filling Our Time
We fill our time with doing stuff. Some of it is useful, like work, taking care of your family, pleasurable activities, but some is just extra stuff.
It’s funny, because we all talk about how busy we are and say we want to do less, but when an opening pops up in the schedule, it’s quickly filled. I talk about how we’ll never be “not busy” in my post about living in your reality (click to find out what I mean by that).
When is the last time you did nothing? Can’t remember? Me neither. For me, “doing nothing” looks like sitting around knitting, reading a book, or painting my nails. Ok, ok…and scrolling through facebook on my phone. :) Low-key, distracting activities.
The closest I come to doing absolutely nothing (at least for my mind) is my morning stretches. Although to be honest, I often have a phone close by and might read a news article or send a text while stretching.
Capture the Moments
My Great-Uncle Joe had a saying, “Capture the moments”. Today we often try to capture the moments with our phones by taking selfies or photos of what we’re doing/eating. But I’m not sure that’s really the point. It’s almost more documenting than capturing the moment. What my Great-Uncle meant was to live in the moment. Truly experience the activity you are doing, the people who surround you. Be present in the now. Take note of the little things in life that are pleasant and bring us joy.
The other day I went on a walk with a good friend of mine. As we were strolling by Parliament Hill I thought, ‘oh we should take a selfie so I can post to facebook.’ Then I decided against it. I wanted to just be present in the moment and our conversation. There wasn’t any need to document or share our walk with anyone else.
I encourage you to simplify your life. Take a look at all the different activities you do and really evaluate whether it’s something you need in your life right now. This will be different for everyone.
For example, one client has de-activated her facebook account. For this period of her life, it’s just too much noise and unnecessary mental clutter. She’s focusing on her health, her family and her work.
Another client is currently evaluating all the volunteer work she does, as it’s eating up a lot of her time, which should be spent on her paid work. She’s decided to scale back her involvement in two of her commitments.
It’s not just about activities, but also things. I encourage you to purge items in your house that you no longer use or aren’t getting any value from. Whether it’s clothes, toys, extra kitchen gadgets, knick knacks, etc. go through your home (one room at at time…no need to overwhelm yourself) and set aside items to give away or trash. Items that are still usable can be donated to help those in need.
Take Time to Think
I also encourage you to create a quiet moment and take some time to think. Think about why you are so busy – are you subconsciously trying to feel more important/valued, are you avoiding some hard truths, are you taking on too much – then take action to address the answers. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Today, slow down and capture the moments.
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