Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
We’ve all been in a situation where we do something we don’t necessarily want to do. Imagine it’s a Sunday afternoon and you plan on relaxing and recharging. The phone rings and you pick it up – agitated at the person who called you. If you don’t want to talk, then why answer? Just because the phone is ringing, doesn’t mean you have to respond. This is the key.
We are in control with what we do with our time. Even when it seems out of control, we’re still in control. Our choices are the rudder that direct where we go and what we do. Today, we are exploring how to battle a busy life, and win that battle! Let’s dive in…
Gandhi said “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Deep down inside we all know this, but how do we practice it day in and day out? Here’s a challenge right now: close your eyes, take a deep breath, put your hand over your heart and feel the beat for about 15 seconds. How do you feel? Believe it or not, something as simple as this can slow you down.
We are so aware of time that looking at a watch (or cell phone clock) all day will actually speed you up. Here’s another challenge: try taking your watch off for one day, or set your phone in the other room. You’ll be surprised to see how tuned in you actually are to time – and how much it will slow you down by intentionally removing that factor. Remember, you are in control of your time, so slow it down.
Examine Your Secondary Gains
The primary gain of being busy appears to be productivity, but under the surface we gain from running in high gear because it often keeps us reflecting on deeper issues. These are your secondary gains.
Busyness may be a means of avoiding something you need to discuss with your spouse. Perhaps it’s financial debt, conversations about your kids, or the feeling of drifting apart. Whatever the case, take a moment to examine your secondary gains from being busy. Ask yourself “What is my busyness getting me besides the belief that I’m getting more done?” And be brutally honest with yourself. You may need to redirect your time to approach other topics needing attention.
Quit Serving Leftovers to Your Spouse
Busy people rarely give their best to the ones they love – they serve leftovers. Not the leftovers from last night’s dinner, but the relational leftovers that remain after the primary attention has already been given to others. Try to make a conscious effort to give your best time to your partner.
For example, if something exciting happens during the day don’t share it with a co-worker first, try to hold in your excitement and share it with your spouse when you get home. Rather than giving all of your enthusiasm to others, you’ll save that moment for you to share together with your spouse. And vice versa – save your energy to listen about your partner’s day as well. As listening is equally important.
Say No Gracefully
One of the most difficult things some people have to do is to say no. Yet this little word is one of the strongest weapons in your battle against busyness. If you suffer from the disease to please, you need to treat this seriously and assert yourself. Over-scheduling yourself can lead to fatigue, depression and other illnesses.
How do you combat this? Make a list of everything that is currently on your plate that you would like to say no to. Discuss your list with your spouse, or someone you respect, and chances are they can help coach you on using this mighty word to free up your time.
Ultimately, time is what you make it. Take control of your time by combating busyness and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
What makes you feel most busy? In what areas of life do you feel you need to pedal faster? How can you change this? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.