Let’s face it modern life can be so frenetic if you let it! Is it making you anxious just thinking about all the things you have to do?
I’m not surprised, it’s just so easy to find yourself on autopilot, over-scheduling your life and seriously damaging your health and important relationships in the process.
To find out why we do it, and some great tips on how to stop doing it, watch the video or read on. Spoiler alert, the 80/20 rule is one of the solutions.
When I was younger I used to be proud of how busy I was because I equated it with success. As I got older I realized any fool can stay busy and they’ll ALWAYS end up paying a price for it.
I laugh now at how I wore my busy-ness like a badge of honour, it even allowed me to feel self-righteous. But pride always comes before a fall right? Not only did my own relationship suffer, but over the years I’ve witnessed thousands of women pay the price in their lives too.
Before we look at the antidote for chronic busy-ness, let’s have a look at the symptoms so you can see if any part of you might be playing this card.
A woman is over-scheduling her time if:
She’s addicted to her phone. She feels lost without it. Not surprising really, it’s her lifeline to productivity, but it’s also a great distraction for how awful all the busy-ness is making her feel.
That’s not only the only way her phone is controlling her. The dopamine hit she gets by checking her social media, fools her into believing her need for connection is being met. Hubby and the kids miss her but don’t like being bossed around, because she’s stressed out all the time.
Another symptom is she gets bored easily. She sees time spent ‘doing nothing’ as time wasted. She doesn’t recognize the value of silence and introspection.
She always seems to be in a rush. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.
She has a hard time saying no when someone asks for her help. Especially when that person is desperate, which often just means they procrastinated and left it ‘til last minute! This then causes the next symptom-
She is often stressed because her important tasks become urgent. That’s because she was too busy putting out other people’s fires, and she didn’t manage to get all of hers done in time. This often leads to the next sign-
She’s pissed off, and self-righteously resentful way too often. Which is what inevitably happens when she over-functions for her kids, hubby, friends and co-workers.
So what’s the answer you may ask?
As with anything in life, the key is balance. How can you be as productive as possible with as little effort? How can you work smart not hard?
As with most things the 80/20 Rule even applies to this. In all the areas of your life, be it health, career, love or personal growth, keep looking for the 20% of the things you do that yield 80% of the success and ditch the rest.
It’ll free up soooo much of your time (80% in fact) and it’s called being efficient.
You noticed I said it’ll make you 80% successful not 100% which brings me to my next solution.
Ditch perfectionism Sister, and be content with ‘good enough’. The price you pay for that extra 20% is often your heath, your close relationships, and your sanity… IT’S JUST NOT WORTH IT!
The next solution to chronic over functioning is to give yourself the gift of mindful presence. Be aware of the things that distract you from being fully present for yourself.
Studies show it’s crucial for both happiness and creativity, to carve out time for this. Either through meditation, yoga or just contemplative walks in nature. Make sure there’s no one or nothing to distract you, from being fully present for you.
How can you know what you really want until you have the quiet time to be with your thoughts.
Give those you love the gift of mindful presence too. It’s not purely altruistic, as your relationships benefit, so will you.
The next antidote to chronic over-functioning is to become really discerning about what you say yes to.
Ask yourself “Is this something I REALLY WANT TO DO?”
Just that question alone is going to make you happier by feeling less resentful.
Stop doing things because you feel you ‘should’ be doing them, or you’re a bad person if you don’t. Trust me you’ll still be generous, helpful and productive by choosing the things you really want to do, the ones that really resonate with you.
Another step to finding more balance is to get really good at creating loving boundaries. If you don’t really want to do it, say no. But say it in a loving way.
It makes it so much more acceptable to people than saying yes but letting them down, by either not following through, following through poorly, or doing it but being annoyed with them. Don’t you just hate when people do that to you?
Also you don’t have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. When you are comfortable with putting down loving boundaries, it really opens up the possibility for creativity, and the chance of a win-win.
A great example of a loving boundary is, before you answer somebody’s request to do something, don’t be afraid to get a little time to think about it.
Even if it’s “Hey I need 10 minutes to think about that, let me get back to you.”
Ironically even if you then say no, often it feels better to them than just a knee-jerk reaction. Just make sure you do get back in the time you promised.
Something to keep in mind, when transitioning from this person who over functions to someone who just says no, is that your kids may struggle or even feel abandoned by your sudden transformation.
So gradually help them become more self-directed. Rather than do things for them, play more of a consultative role. Tell them they’ll be doing more stuff for themselves, but you’ll be there to guide and support them.
What’s the best way to sell them on it? Well how are you going to be different to be around when you’re no longer doing all the work?
You’ll be happier, and less controlling, right? Let them know that.
Anyway if you’d like to start making some changes, over the next week, commit to being fully present both for yourself and also for those you love.
Just start to notice where your mind really goes. When I started doing this I was shocked to see how often I was either in the past or in the future.
Don’t chastise yourself though, just make it a game and gently unhook from wherever you are and refocus on ‘being here now’.
Of course the fastest way to build this muscle, or develop this habit, is a daily meditation practice.
If you’re used to being super busy all the time, it may well feel uncomfortable to do less. You might feel lazy or guilty, or you may even go through physiological dopamine withdrawal if you’re committing to spending less time on your phone.
Anyway I really hope this helps you break the cycle of over-scheduling so you can live a more meaningful, vibrant and fulfilling life.
Until next time, be good to yourself, and remember to keep it real.
With light and love
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