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5 Ways To Become Less Busy

5 Ways To Become LESS Busy. You know, I don’t think I have EVER heard the phrase: “I’ve got all the time in the world… nothing to do… man, this is relaxing!”  Nope.  Never heard that one.

Why do we all think that being hellishly busy is something to be proud of?  I think sometimes it maybe gives me a sense of importance, that sooooo many things require my attention.  The breaking point was the day when 5-year-old Zoe, our miracle baby, was clamoring to sit on my lap.  I was suddenly furious at her.  I had SO. MUCH. TO. DO. And this kid was bugging me!

Let’s examine this, shall we? I was mad at the baby I love more than life because she wanted to cuddle.

What in the heck is wrong with me?

 

I vowed right then to become less busy, even if it meant being ruthless.  Here are 5 steps I took that day – and from then on.  See if any of these work for you:

5 Ways To Become LESS Busy

  1. Learn to say no. This is key. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much.  I suck at this.  I want everyone to be happy.  But on that pivitol day, I was not happy.  Neither was Zoe.
  2. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important.
  3. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. Seriously, what is most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities.
  4. Simplify home tasks. Think about all the stuff you do at home.  What can you live with?  A little dust?  Not decorating for every single holiday?  Focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks.
  5. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phones, paper mail, Skype, Twitter, Facebook and every other electronic leash you can think of.  I used to be proud of the fact that I actually slept with my iPhone in my hand.  Not joking, here. It can easily take every moment of our day if we let it.  My goal now is to check work and website email only twice a day.  Check messages and return calls once a day.  And so on.  This one is going to be the hardest for me, I won’t lie.

 

When you finally do have say, five minutes of spare time– do NOT freak out!  Don’t suddenly busy yourself with another task– I’m sure there’s plenty.  Instead, sit for a minute, take a breath.  Look around.  Examine what you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.  If we’re very lucky, what we’ll be feeling is… peace.

Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times

Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times. Busy times… hah! That’s every freaking day. For all of us. Especially now that we’re launching into the madness of 2019- more expectations, more requirements, more time and money spent.

 

But it’s true that if you don’t care for yourself, no one else will.  Then we either crash from exhaustion and stress or feel bitterly resentful that “we do everything!”  Here’s some simple principles to keep while battling a million different challenges.

Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times

Say no to anything that is not important to you

Laundry, phone calls with your mom, demanding girlfriends – this is not the time to be nice and “responsible.” Give yourself the permission to focus on what’s important. Getting the unessential responsibilities off your schedule will not only create some extra time and space, it will also lighten the burden you’re feeling to keep up with it.

 

Listen to your favorite music

I’m a little biased here, based on my career, but music can lift the spirit, calm the soul and cleanse anxiety.  Don’t underestimate the value of the right music to guide you through your day.

 

Ask for help

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you’ll quickly learn that most people around you actually love to be asked! It makes them feel useful and important. What usually helps the most is to get help to do the normal things; cooking, shopping and regular every-day tasks. However, don’t underestimate how important the people in your life can be when it comes to feedback, motivation and supporting your self-confidence regarding the important work you’re doing.

 

Get enough sleep

I know you hear this so much that it’s likely really annoying at this point. But this old advice is not only essential when it comes to self-care, it is also absolutely essential when it comes to being able to do your best. Particularly important when it comes to exam periods and work stress. It’s easy to think that a few extra hours of work will do you more good, but it won’t. Sleep will.

 

Make a plan of everything that needs to be done

Instead of juggling all your to-do’s and must-remember’s, write them down on a piece of paper. Then make a plan of how you are going to manage everything before your deadline. Tackle the most stressful ones first. For me, that’s calling clients. I don’t know why, but I’ll avoid this extremely important element for as long as possible- while stressing about it the whole time. You may have to schedule a lot of tasks on certain days, and it may seem like too much to do, but at least you’ll know that everything will get done. Make sure you stick to the plan, every single day. Don’t fall for the temptation to start on tomorrow’s tasks today, trust that the plan will take you there, and enjoy some free time on the days when you finish your tasks early.

 

Write things down

I am of the belief that as adults, our brains fill up right to the top and stuff starts spilling over. This is why I can’t tie my shoelaces or remember how to work a doorbell. So I write everything down. On my phone, the back of my hand, it doesn’t matter. This way, I don’t have to carry the additional stress of remembering everything I need to remember.

 

Walk everywhere

You might be busy and think that every minute is valuable time to put into your work, but some extra minutes of walking might be a better way to spend some time. If you live close to where you’re going, it’s better to walk than to use public transport (or your car). Not only will you enjoy a nice endorphin rush and the self-satisfaction of being all healthy, you also get some important fresh air and daylight. If you have to commute, get off public transport one or two stops too early, or park your car further away than usual. The extra minutes of fresh air will save you lots of time when you start working and feel more focused. I have a few loops along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (a wonderful series of trails and switchbacks only 10 minutes out of the city) that I plod along like a draft horse. I get so much thinking done!

 

Make sure you keep in touch with your friends

Just a few text messages, tweets or the occasional coffee will make sure your friendships don’t suffer. You will feel much better when you focus on something else entirely, and it will prevent you from becoming a workaholic hermit. You don’t have to keep in touch with everybody, most people will understand that you’re having a busy period. Just make sure you stay in touch with the people that make you happy and inspired.

 

Make room for rest

This one’s important. Make sure that whenever you plan to rest – really rest. That means that you will have to make a conscious effort to push all work-related thoughts and worries away. It’s also important that you rest your mind as well as your body. 5 minutes of stillness is better than 30 minutes in front of the TV!

 

Surround yourself with inspiring photos

This can be a formal Vision Board if you have room or the inclination, or simply photos that matter to you taped to a computer monitor, in a pretty frame or even a screen saver of all your favorite images from Pinterest- I love this option because I create a rotating series of inspiration boards to keep me going. 

 

Write a daily gratitude list

A daily gratitude list is really helpful to shift your focus and help you appreciate the situation. It doesn’t have to be long, a few sentences will do. If you keep a gratitude journal, you can also look back on your previous entries whenever you need a little boost of happiness and motivation.

 

Wear your pretty clothes

Don’t save the cute new shirt for “something special,” you needing to feel good is THE “something special.” With your most powerful, wonderful and pretty clothes on, you’ll feel like a goddess for the rest of the day.

 

Take a hot bath

This is my go-to when it’s been a really rough day. I don’t know if I get any thinking done while I’m prone with a washcloth over my face and the bathroom door locked so my son can’t keep stumbling in. But after, I’m limp and relaxed enough to sleep, whether I want to of not. Plus, an evening bath may be the best way to relax because of this simple fact – you can’t take your work and your computer with you.

 

Do something silly

Most people would interpret this as an elaborate gag or practical joke. I simply learned a pile of really lame knock-knock jokes. They still crack everyone up, maybe simply because they are so stupid. (Editor’s note: there’s a big ol’ bunch of them right here.)

 

Accept a little clutter and mess

Some dust and a little dirt has never hurt anyone. Focus on what’s important to you, you can always clean up the mess later. This only works if you can overlook it, like The Todd, I will only add the mess to my spiraling anxieties and it only gets worse. You know your comfort level.