I used to get short of breath, rushing from one thing to the next and trying to make use of every possible minute in the day. When people asked me how I’d been, I would say, “good, but busy … really, really busy”.
And I started to realise that the more I used the word “busy” to describe my state of being, the more “busy” I felt; it didn’t feel good, and it didn’t feel spacious- it feel suffocating, limiting and closed.
As a culture, the busy-ness affliction is rampant – being busy is viewed almost as a status symbol -if we’re not busy, we must be lazy or stupid or failing somehow; we don’t have enough friends/opportunities/demand for our skill to fill our schedules to exhaustion. Being busy allows us to feel like we’re moving forward, going somewhere, achieving success. But where does it actually get us?
Reading two books made me re-evaluate how I was perceiving and actually spending my time; The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte and Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The Desire Map encouraged me to look at how I wanted to feel, and Essentialism encouraged me to do less but better – to focus on a couple of things that really make a difference, rather than trying to be and do it all.
Being busy wasn’t how I wanted to feel, and it wasn’t helping me do less or do it better. I wasn’t getting anywhere except tired.
So I attempted to stop using the word busy, as a start.
And a few interesting things happened. I suddenly had the perception of more free time. I felt more in control of my schedule. And I stopped scheduling so many things back to back, because that seemed … too busy.
Life felt more spacious, more purposeful, and I felt more at ease. It was easier to say no to invitations or opportunities that didn’t serve me because I knew what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to feel. And I actually started feel that way – spacious, effective, and rested.
From time to time, the B word still pops up, but busy-ness as an affliction is less. And I feel more free, more focused … more me.