You know that old saying, “if nothing changes, nothing changes?”
It’s been ringing around my head these past few months. Mainly because after years of continued attempts to attack the culture of “busy” I find myself in, nothing was changing.
I’d have good intentions of meal planning, of sitting down and making a master schedule, of dragging my buns out of bed a little earlier in the morning.
Of exercising and reading and being more patient. Of doing all the things important to me, the things I value.
All the things “busy” just didn’t have time for.
Until one day last week I felt change in the air.
A movement towards this elusive goal of banishing the busy.
A wonderful accident of calm contentment, not brought on by finding a better time management system or organizational method, but by saying yes to less.
Which isn’t always easy in our culture of hustle. Where more is better and “crazy busy” is worn like a badge of honour. In a culture where we’re encouraged to fill up our plates — the sky’s the limit! — Where we can do and be and have it all.
And then when it doesn’t work, when we’re drowning and overwhelmed and just plain exhausted, we can only conclude that we’re not doing it right.
We need to up our game.
Improve our time management. Get organized and find a better system.
Spending our already limited time and attention figuring out the optimal method for managing our crazy lives. Adding even further to what we’ve got going on.
Until we stop.
Until we realize it’s not about finding a better or more efficient way of juggling all the balls we’ve got in the air, but on consciously deciding which ones we’re willing to let drop.
Not into making fancy school lunches?
Would rather poke your eyes out than attend another baby-and-me music class?
Don’t know how you’re going to find time to make brownies for the bake sale?
Stop trying to find it.
Want to banish the busy? Cut the clutter and say goodbye to overwhelm?
Drop the balls that don’t matter so you can create space for those that do.
And even though cutting back or saying no or doing less can feel weird or awkward or even wrong, like you’re going against the grain or that there must be something wrong with you because “everyone else” seems to manage just fine, try to remember:
Busy and full aren’t the same thing.
Allow yourself to let go of busy
So you can create a life that’s full of what matters.
I realize that depending on the day or week or month you’re having this sort of email can be either just what you needed or have you wanting to scream at your screen — because it’s not easy. And making these changes, especially when it comes to consciously cutting back or saying no can feel downright impossible. So if this is something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t been able to, here are a couple of practical resources that have really helped me turn things around.
The first is all about cutting the clutter from your outside life. Whether it’s work commitments or school commitments or social commitments, it will help you figure out what’s *really* important so you can let go of distractions while focusing your time and attention on what’s truly important.
The second is for cleaning up your internal life. If you find yourself spending time or energy or attention on things like worrying or wondering what other people think, you’ll love this. I read it at least once a year and find it acts almost like a “reset” button for getting my thoughts in order.
Hope this note finds you well and I look forward to chatting again soon,