How many times have you said you’re busy in the last week? Is it hard to count?
Since a young age, we have learned that adults are ‘busy’ and that it’s perfectly normal to always be busy. For many, being addicted to the busy actually stops us from living a stress-conscious, joyful life.
Most likely, as you grew up, you complained that you were busy with school, with university, with work and with maintaining your social life. Moreover, if you have a family, you have probably said that your children were keeping you busy and that the days were too short!
Most of the time, we use the word ‘busy’ to describe tasks or chunks of time that we feel we have no control over. You ofeel you just have so much to do. In the process of completing tasks, you lose sense of yourself, feel tired and very powerless. We often actually hate being busy but feel as though it’s the only way. In fact, when we can’t do much about it, we find ourselves complaining and wish we had more time.
Maybe you recognize yourself in the above description. Or maybe you’re the type of person that loves being busy. Being busy mentally or distracting yourself with technology and social activities becomes your daily remedy. The truth is, you’re bored when you have too much time on your hands. Quite frankly you would much rather be busy and entertained than bored and clueless how to fill your time. (If this sounds like you, I invite you to hop click over and watch the video I made about how to never be bored again.)
No matter if you resonate with this or not, I bet you can admit to having used the word ‘busy’ more than once. So let’s stop this madness.
Here are four ways to stop being busy and become efficient and mindful instead.
Break your automatic self-talk
We have to recognize our patterns and habits to realize how often we use words that makes us fall into patterns. By saying you’re busy so often, you create a belief that you are powerless over your time. Being busy in the general sense of the term is a state in which you are actively engaged in an action that usually takes away from your leisure time. When you’re constantly busy though, you somehow begin feeling trapped. We use it as a justification. Being mindful of the words you choose to describe what you’re doing with your precious time is so important. This can start by being aware of your time and how your spending it. Being engaged in your work projects and creative pursuits can be described in words other than ‘busy’! Don’t let yourself become trapped in this automatic self talk and choose the words you’re using wisely.
To break this pattern, I encourage you to try the following exercises:
- Try to write down on your phone a small star or symbol every time you use ‘’busy’’ for a whole week (or even a day) to raise your awareness of how often you use that word.
- When you catch yourself, try repeating it with a different word. The words we use empower us. For example, if you say “I’m busy right now” self correct with “I mean, I’m working on a business project today.”
- Switch a bracelet from the left to the right wrist and vice-versa, every time you catch yourself saying the word “Busy”
You do not want to be the person justifying your time with the word “busy”. You want to be the person “taking actions”. Which takes us to the next point….
Our language is so rich and yet, we still use the same words over and over again until we feel numb to its meaning. Surprise people. Have fun challenging your own boundaries and reframing how you describe your life! Choose new words or simply answer with what you have been doing directly and specifically. Try explaining the things you’re working on or what’s been “taking your time” instead of simply answering “I’ve been busy”. This could sound like:
- I am currently working on a project I love, but I’ll try to come next time.
- I’ve been so efficient today that I want to keep going!
- I feel so productive!
- The kids are so playful today so I’m going to the park with them.
- My day was so lush with business projects and client calls today.
Take your power back
You’re given a precious 24 hours a day to be your most beautiful self. You don’t know how long you’ve got but you know you’ve got now. Start raising your awareness of how you spend your time. Practice single-tasking and use words that are empowering such as ‘efficient’ and ‘productive’ instead of words that make you feel powerless, such as ‘busy’ or ‘tired’. Realize that you’re choosing how you spend your time. Not necessarily what you are doing, because we do have responsibilities, but you can choose how you do each task and spend your time. You’re passionately working, you’re doing dishes with care, you’re fully focused on watching your favorite tv show. Don’t let your day become a busy blur. Be intentional of how you spend your time and you will have much more to say about your day than the fact that you felt “busy”.
Be an example
Lead by example. Be the one in control of your day and how you spend it. Turn inwards to feel your personal power and joy, and realize that every word you choose to share can impact and be a model for other’s life. You have the power to spread mindfulness & creativity with your own life.
How do you feel about ‘busy” now? Ready to be mindful instead?