Since becoming a mom, almost 16 years ago, I noticed a strange phenomenon.
It was shameful to not be busy.
That was the underlying message at least. It seems that people are proud when they share how busy they are.
In case you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, allow me to explain. I would run into another mom at the grocery store, let’s say. We would greet one another, and she would say, how are you, and I’d say great and you? Then she would invariably answer “Oh, I’m so busy!”.
Now, before you think she was just trying to end that conversation and move along, sometimes this greeting would be followed by 10 minutes of me listening to the extent of the busy-ness.
I’m not judging, or complaining. I really felt compassion for their stressed out state. And, sometimes, I felt I should be busy too. I would feel compelled to assert that I too was busy, even if I really wasn’t.
I was ashamed of my balanced life.
It was embarrassing to admit I wasn't overwhelmed. In fact, sometimes...and this is the real shame game issue...this sweet friend would say “I’m sure you’re busy too”.
However, thankfully, I really wasn’t. I had designed my life to be present for my children. My coworkers thought my husband must have a really good job because I only worked one day a week until both boys were in school, sometimes less.
He was working on a teacher’s salary, so yes, he made decent money. I was not complaining. We planned for me to be home, and we didn’t have debt, we saved with coupons and budgeting. So, I didn’t have the pressure of working and taking care of little ones.
That was my choice, and I don’t regret it for a minute. And, I do see the value of having some separation from children when they are young. Building independence, and growing bonds with a variety of adults and other children.
But, I digress.
As the boys have gotten older, the people around me have changed. Now there are fellow business owners, and new coworkers. I still hear people exclaim, “I’m so busy!”
I want to tell them, stop it! Stop being so busy. Stop doing so much. You are only one person, and you are not doing yourself any favors, and certainly not those around you. Being busy is stressful. And it keeps you from actually being as productive as you could be.
I get caught up in being too busy. Sometimes. I still have to be aware of it. When I feel myself getting busy, it’s a warning sign. I have to continue to design my life, just like I did when I had my babies.
I have to slow down, look at what my priority is, and then work everything else around that.
We continue to live below our means, so that we have a cushion of savings, and no debt, and I’m not pressured to work more. I don’t overcommit to very worthy volunteer opportunities. I don’t stress over having parties at our house.
And when I feel like things are getting too busy, I slow down. I reevaluate. Instead of pushing forward, I pick up a book and read on the patio with a cup of tea. Pushing forth just makes for poor quality in whatever I might be doing, and certainly will put me in a bad mood.
Don’t fall for the busy-ness shame game. When someone asks how you are, or how busy you are, it is perfectly acceptable to proudly say, “nope, I’m good.”
Set yourself up for it.
Look at all that you have going on in your life right now.
What can you let go of?
What isn’t YOUR priority?
What is draining your energy?
What is just not working for you anymore?
Get really ruthless with this. It’s the only way to declutter. And I promise, you will feel so much better...and not miss those other obligations one bit!
Share in the comments what is driving you to make more time and be less busy?