In our recent Quantum Leap discussion, I alluded to our conversation topic for today: Busyness. I shared the following two thoughts and promised that we would dig deeper into the subject this week:
- If rewriting your life and redefining yourself is necessary for you to experience victory, then the only way to change your situation is to change what you do with your time. Regardless of what your bank account and circumstances say about you right now, we’re all on equal footing with the resource of time. What you do with your time – day in, day out, every day, on a daily basis, on your seemingly most humdrum, mundane days – is prophetic of the end result you create. Because the way you do anything is the way you’ll do everything. Are you investing your time to create a change? Or are you spending every moment just hanging on, maintaining your existence, and managing your current state of affairs? Time is the most precious commodity we’ve got, and you can’t get it back once it’s gone. So, are you investing your time to create a payoff, or are you spending it with no return?
- Many people, however, do not feel in control of their time, so they can’t even relate to this thought process of creating change. Sadly, this leads us to feeling completely helpless and powerless over our own situation. If you are one of those people, here’s the good news: even if you feel like your life is spinning out of control and you have no idea how to stop the madness, you can fix the problem. It’s not too late. There is a solution to everything – if you’re willing to dig deep enough. Many people suffer through life in complete defeat because they wrongly assume that they have no choice. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can either look at every obstacle as reinforcement of your defeat, or as the necessary training that makes you stronger and teaches you to fight for what you want instead of rolling over and accepting status quo.
So, let’s dig in and discover how to beat “busy”! I wholeheartedly believe that busyness is one of the biggest battles we must fight in our war on mediocrity. If mediocrity is the opposite of excellence, then busyness is the biggest enemy of excellence (followed closely by group-think and unawareness). But we must march into battle positioned to win. Warriors stand taller, walk stronger, and march with purpose when they know that victory awaits them. But they also know that they still must be willing to march into battle in order to actually claim the victory.
We must come to grips with the fact that busyness is a victim’s mentality. How many times per week do you hear yourself or someone else say, “I’m so busy”, “We’re just so busy”, or “Everyone’s been so busy”. But think about it: throwing out the “busy” card means that someone (or something) else is in control of our time. Claiming busyness puts you in the passenger seat of your own life, because you’re just along for the ride, reacting to whatever is next on the schedule. Succumbing to busyness is a life of existing from day to day at the mercy of obligations that we’re not passionate about. And honestly, it’s become such a commonplace approach to life that most people use it as a small talk conversation piece. We used to bring up the weather, now we break up how busy the family’s been.
I’ll never forget hearing from Robert Kiyosaki that busyness is just another form of laziness. Because it’s easier to keep following the existing patterns of chaos than it is to go against the grain and put in the effort to redirect our path.
So, how do we beat “busy”? How do we slow down and purposefully redirect our path instead of just slipping further and further down the slippery slope of “someday”? I’d like to humbly suggest a three prong approach:
1.Understand the difference between sheer “busyness” and a full schedule.
If your schedule is full by design, great! If you put intentional, strategic thought into everything on your calendar before you added it to your calendar because you purposefully selected each event as something that is in alignment with your life goals and purpose, great! If everything on your calendar brings you joy or fulfills your big picture objectives in some way, great! If that’s the case, you may move at a fast pace and carry a big workload, but you’re not exhausted from over-extending yourself. On the contrary, you’re invigorated by every day because it brings a new opportunity for you to embrace your purpose and tackle your life goals. You may be tired at the end of each day, because God created us to need rest, but there is a big difference in falling asleep each night with exhilaration from a great day of joyful work and being worn out from the whipping of meaningless tasks. I call it sleeping with integrity, and there is no better night’s sleep in the world than one that follows a day full of doing the right things.
2. Learn to say “no”.
You really don’t want to be the “yes” man. If you are a “yes” man (or ma’am, as we say in Texas), it means that everyone else can count on you, but you are never accountable to yourself. It means that everyone else can, will, and does take advantage of you because they know you will say “yes” to the task or project they’re looking to delegate. This means there will never be anytime left over for you, your family, or your priorities. This doesn’t mean that you shirk responsibility, but it’s been said that if you chase too many rabbits, you’ll never catch any of them, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s far better to do a few things with excellence than many things in mediocrity. But you must realize that telling someone else “no” doesn’t mean that you’re rejecting them or disrespecting them in any way. If you need to say no, but don’t know how to do it with dignity, try this approach: “Thank you so much for the invitation/offer. I’m truly honored by your request, and I wholeheartedly support your objective. I hate that I must decline the invitation because of my existing responsibilities, but can you catch me next time around/next year?” You’re not saying “no” forever, just for right now.
3. Proactively schedule in rest.
You know your body clock. How much can you handle and still be able to operate at peak performance? Do you need a small break from the madness once a week? A mid-sized break once a quarter? An extended period of rest once or twice a year? If you plan ahead and incorporate those into your calendar, you’ll develop cycles in each year that prevent burnout and serve to further fuel your flame.
Are you surviving life, or really living live? Are you designing each day or just waiting for the weekend? If you will adopt the belief that you can take control and then redirect your actions to support that belief, you really can create a life that you love instead of just taking whatever comes your way. If you calendar is already slammed full from now through the holidays – so what? Don’t let that be your excuse for the rest of your life. You may need to fulfill your existing commitments out of integrity, but you can decide today that starting as soon as your existing obligations expire, you are going to be more purposeful with your activities to ensure that they are properly aligned with your life goals and purpose. By slowing down, saying “yes” less often, resting more, and being intentional with what you do say “yes” to, you can move from busy to purposefully positioned in no time.
With all my love,