Or, Why Life’s About More Than Getting Sh*t Done
Aren’t you exhausted from all the talk about productivity, goals, and getting things done?
We know we are.
It feels like ever since the internet became mainstream it’s been an increasing onslaught of productivity tips and tricks, apps to help you get more things done in less time, and think-piece blogs about how to structure your morning, crush your to do list, and live your best life.
YOLO, after all.
But the reality is, your “best” life isn’t going to be found in the onslaught of productivity, nor in the constant activity of busy, busy, busy.
When you see someone you haven’t seen in a while and ask them how they’re doing, how often do you hear the phrase, “I’m good! Busy, but good.”
We’ll spare you the think piece on “busy is not a badge of honor” and jump right into the assumption that if you’re here, you share our belief that life is about more than being busy and getting things done.
So let’s talk about what “busy” really means.
When you tell someone you’re busy, what are you really saying to them? Here are some possibilities:
- My work is taking a lot of my energy
- I give a lot of my energy to friends, family, and social gatherings
- There are many projects at work and home that are requiring my attention and effort
- I can’t think of all the things I’ve been doing lately so I’ll just say “busy” and try to get off the hook
- I feel a bit chaotic and overwhelmed with all the things I need to get done yet I’m chugging along and doing them as best I can while hoping to reach some level of sanity at some future point in time
OK, ok, that last one is a bit embellished. But—at the same time, how far from the truth is it for you? Do you relate to that in any way?
To be honest, both of us have felt that way at times. This feels like a pretty realistic look at what American life feels like for many these days.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Just because things are the way they are, doesn’t mean that’s the way they need to be.
Often this sense of busyness comes from lacking structures and mindsets that, when properly utilized, can greatly help mitigate those feelings of chaos, overwhelm, and stress that so frequently lead to burnout.
If we design and implement systems that help us stay organized and in control of the areas of life we’re capable of controlling, we then can decrease the mental load of ad hoc organizing ourselves and free up mental capacity to be used—or not—for other things.
If we set intentions for how we’re going to use our time and energy while enforcing boundaries to make sure we actually hold ourselves to those intentions, we can maintain focus and discipline while making the best use of our time.
If we work to keep ourselves in the present moment and let go of thoughts of the past and worries about the future, we can feel more full in the moments we so often let slip right by.
This list could go on and on, but in short, what we’re saying is: there are ways to escape the trap of busy.
It takes discipline and practice, along with behavior and habit change, but it most certainly can be done.
One final note
While it’s easy to look at our smartphones and devices as a major force pulling us away from the present moment—in 2016 the average American touched their smartphone over 2600 times per day—they can actually become powerful forces in the opposite direction, if used with intention in combination with discipline. Those very devices we so easily surrender our attention and energy to, that deplete us and cause us to feel chaotic, anxious, and overwhelmed, might actually be one of the best tools we have for escaping the trap and ending our culture of busy.
Whether or not your phone becomes your path away from constant busyness, hopefully we can agree that there is more to life than being busy, and therefore it’s worthwhile to put our energy and attention into designing and implementing ways of pushing back on our constant need to “do, do, do,” and instead, embrace what humans for millennia have embraced: being, as we are, in the present moment, with all our beauty, and without judgment for what we think we should be doing.
Life isn’t about “should,” nor is it about always doing, just like it’s not about always being busy.
Busy is not a badge of honor, despite what society to this point has told you.
Busy means you’re operating at capacity all the time, often without reason.
There are ways to do what you want to do and achieve what you want to achieve without always having to be “busy.”
With systems, intention, and presence, it’s possible to end the cult of busy.
If you’re ready to make some changes to the way you spend your time, we’re happy to help you get started on your journey of transformation.
It all starts with realizing you have all the time in the world, right there in front of you.
You just need to start using it effectively.