How Did I Get So Busy?

I noticed a reoccurring theme playing out during my weekends. I was always trying to catch up. And even at the end of the weekend, my “To Do” list never seemed shorter.

So this weekend I stopped and read “How Did I Get So Busy?” by Valorie Burton. It’s a 28-day program that promised to help me “rediscover my true priorities, shift out of overdrive and reclaim my life and schedule.”

Of course, I read the book in one weekend instead of during 28 days. And I read a large chunk of it while riding a stationary bicycle so clearly I needed the advice contained in the book.

As the author notes, “The problem with being too busy is that you lose your sense of self. In the race to get it all done, you give up the experience of being fully engaged in anything.”

Fortunately, I am not that far gone. I still enjoy meaningful conversations over a cup of coffee or cooking a meal from scratch for my book club. But I also knew there were areas of my life where I was not being intentional with my actions.

And so I’m now focused on being productive by accomplishing that which matters most. And I’m not going to wear busyness as a badge of honor.

I am going to exercise regularly, as I’ve already shared. In fact, I’ve hired a personal trainer to keep me on track. I’m now cooking meals on Sunday so I have lunches for the work week. I’m not eating at my desk but rather in the break room. Lunch might be finished in 15 or 20 minutes, but at least it is a break. And some days, I take an entire hour. I also have all of my vacation days scheduled.

I’m also focusing more on the journey and not the destination. I’m working on not letting technology intrude. I can be sitting right by the phone and not answer it. I’m still working on ignoring e-mail except during set times.

I’ve changed my approach to my To Do List. At the top I now list my goals for the week, listing no more than three. Then I put on the list those items that will help me achieve those goals. Anything else is not urgent and is not needed on the list. Of course, some of those items may become urgent if they don’t ever get finished so I track them using the Task List in Outlook.

I’m saying “no” more frequently. Before accepting a meeting invitation, I must know the purpose. Otherwise, I don’t accept the request.

I’m also spending quiet time each day. It’s the one I struggle with the most. I started with a minute. I’m working up to 10 minutes each day. No music, no television. Just me sitting quietly being present and not busy.

Are you too busy? How do you get unbusy?