Your alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. and you hop out of bed. The first thing you do is grab your phone on your way to the kitchen to get coffee, and you’re already looking at emails.
Deleting those you don’t need and keeping a mental note of those you should respond to right away.
You pour your coffee. Sit down and you flip your laptop open. Before you’ve even taken your first sip, you’ve pulled up your email and started responding to the ones you think need your attention now.
Between work, working out, client meetings, actual work, networking and making sure your family has gotten to where they need to go (if you have one), you collapse on your couch around 8:00 p.m.
You hear yourself saying out loud, “What a crazy busy day – I can’t believe how much I got done.” You’re tired, but you feel accomplished. Like you’ve earned your rest for another day.
This scenario plays out for so many, each and every day.
You wake up and hit the ground running and don’t stop until you’ve either run yourself into the ground or have reached some imaginary threshold where you can tell yourself, “Yes, I’ve done enough today.”
You (myself included) might even proclaim that you are simply wired this way. You’re a natural born worker who tends to be happier when you’re working non-stop and can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to live any other way.
I’ll even admit that up until recently, I hated vacations because they seemed to hold little value for me and it felt like I should be doing something better with my time.
You might even judge others who don’t live life the way you do – wondering how they can be satisfied when they’re not pushing themselves to the same extremes you do.
In some ways, you’re envious of the way others think. There’s a part of you that knows staying busy all the time isn’t really healthy – and it’s beginning to wear you down, drain your energy and keep you from enjoying some of your life.
You’re aware, but you really don’t know any other way.
And that’s the tricky part . . .
Until now, you’ve valued being busy. Being busy means you’re doing something, adding to the world and becoming accomplished.
You were probably even taught from early on that being busy is a measure of a successful person.
Think back to middle school when you were rewarded for collecting gold stars just for doing things in the classroom.
Or you were you told that not being busy meant you were lazy, and that lazy people don’t get far.
If you dig a little, you’ll probably recall some sort of messaging that being busy meant you were a valued member of society.
But have you ever questioned that or wondered to yourself if it’s true?
Many of us believe that unless we’re busy, we hold no value. If we slow down – we tell ourselves – we lose our value. We become not good enough.
Think about it for a moment, when you sit down and do n-o-t-h-i-n-g, how does it feel? Do you get uncomfortable? Does the mere thought of it send you in a panic?
If you were to stay in bed all day, would you feel good?
Probably not. Why? Why is it that slowing down is so uncomfortable for you?
Because being busy is the way you have learned to value your own worth.
Now I know that might feel a bit surprising and I understand if you’re feeling some resistance – after all, your life’s demands are making you busy.
But hear me out.
Being busy can imply that you’re needed, wanted or in demand. It’s the way you prove and earn your worth.
And in many ways, it’s become a status symbol in our society.
Being busy keeps others happy and avoids things you don’t want – things like criticism, questioning or doubt. It keeps you in a constant loop so that you never really even have to look at the state of your life – or your inner life.
It also keeps you in a constant state of panic – because the second you start to slow down, you feel like you’re no longer valuable. It’s almost as if you have a fear that if things don’t keep up at a frenzied pace, you’ll lose your value and people will forget about you or ignore you.
Staying busy is ultimately a tricky and subtle trap because, even when it brings you up, at some point it brings you down.
Keeping up with a frenetic pace wears you down so much that you lose sight of where you really want to go and how you want to live.
Find freedom from the shackles of busyness.
The good news is that no matter how long you’ve been in this trap, there is a way out.
And it begins with growing your own internal self-worth so that you’re not always looking to external points for validation.
By employing these important steps, you’ll start to feel more at ease and begin to enjoy life a bit more – without always having it filled to the brim.
(1) First, let yourself see how you believe you need to earn and prove your worth by being busy.
(2) Next, ask yourself what being busy allows you to avoid.
(3) This week, schedule (and keep!) three 5 minute appointments with yourself to do nothing.
As you give these steps a whirl, you may feel a range of things from discomfort, angry, sad, anxious to relaxed, rested, rejuvenated. Let yourself feel what you feel. We’re taking it slow so you can celebrate small wins along the way!
FInd out how disconnecting from your need to seek external approval and stay busy can help you have more time for yourself and a sense of self-validation instead.
Notice what shifts around guarding your time with you, and soon you’ll be cherishing those moments with yourself as much as you once did your busyness!
Join me in my Free Facebook Group, Transform Together and let’s keep this conversation going!