If you are like most people, you feel uniquely and exceptionally busy and it’s not just perception! It is extraordinary the amount of things there are to get done in a day and if you have kids that list is exponentially larger. Throw in a job or two and we all have way more to do in a day than time to do it. I’m no scientist and this may or may not be substantiated by research but I’m convinced this ‘busy-ness’ has very harmful side effects to our emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
As some wise people continually remind me, we all get 24 hours a day and that’s all we’ll ever get, so to put off important things until we have ‘more time’ is delusional. So, if we are not going to get MORE time, how do we MAKE time or FIND time to…insert important thing that’s not getting done here…?
Please tell me, because I don’t know. Thank you. The end.
Oh wait…before you go, I do have some suggestions that have helped me gain a little more control and sanity in a life that is completely out of control and insane during this season. This is not by any means new information but I would recommend trying this out and applying what might work for you…
1) Ruthlessly prioritize your rocks, pebbles and sand
We all know the story of this. If you have a bunch of rocks, pebbles and sand to fit into a jar, and you start with the sand, the jar will fill up and you won’t fit anything else in. The jar is our day/life, the sand is the ‘stuff’ that always comes up, pebbles are more important and rocks most. A lot of times, we (especially me) like to cross all the ‘sand’ off the list first because it’s minor, easy to accomplish and fills our to-do lists with accomplishments. But it’s sand and in the meantime the big stuff suffers. In order to do this step right, you really have to know what your rocks are. In my case, my rocks were my marriage and my career. Then my kids came and my career became a pebble. Thanks to not winning the stupid Power Ball, work is still a pebble and not sand but first things are first.
2) Create a NOT to do list
This may seem counter intuitive, but we all either are or know people who have gigantic to-do lists. I write mine down, Tony has an app but either way, it’s more than anyone could do in a week crammed into a day. I think this is good, and studies have been done that show that successful people start their days reviewing their to-do. But REALLY successful people figure out what not to do. Avoid the sand, people! Write down what will survive NOT being done, even if it will ‘just take a minute’.
3) Repeat after me…”That’s not going to work for me”
This is a nice easy way to learn to say ‘No’. It is not being ‘nice’ to say YES to everything if a) it will deplete you to a point where you will be mean to people who love you or b) you will be so overextended you’ll blow it on other things or c) you say yes to things that are just not good for you. Now, being naturally selfish and introverted, I can’t just say NO to everything I don’t want to do because that’s, well, EVERYTHING but I do get a lot of requests and some are perfectly decent requests. Reality is a YES to one thing is a NO to something else. Maybe that something you are saying No to is something your soul desperately needs.
4) Start with silence
I know not everyone who reads this is a praying type, but whether you are or not, I think the best thing ANYONE can do is start their day with 10-15 minutes of silent reflection. NOT reflecting on how busy you are or what you need to do, but being SILENT with yourself. Meditate on something nourishing and life affirming.
5) Invest in your body
Yes, I realize this could seem a bit self-serving, given that we have a gym we want you to start or keep working out in but trust me…investing in your personal fitness will reap benefits far beyond just looking hot. Your body is the container for YOU and needs to be feeling and functioning at its best for YOU to feel your best. This HAS to be a rock and not sand. If you don’t believe me, try to get everything else you want to do from a hospital bed, or with excruciating back pain…not too easy, is it? And yes, while I do think our fitness community is the best in the universe, because we’re all friends I will say that it’s important to do ANYTHING for your physical fitness…wherever or however that looks for you.
So yes, we are all too busy and always will be but there are ways to make sure the most important things are being attended to and by doing so you’ll undoubtedly find yourself happier and more content overall…