When was the last time you answered a simple “how are you?” with something other than “busy”? With the pace of modern life only getting faster by the day, many of us seem to have adopted a permanent dialogue of busyness, our words a stream of: “I’m so busy. Work has been crazy, life is just manic, everything is so non-stop at the moment”. We’re obsessed with competing in the 'busy Olympics', battling with friends and family over whose life is most hectic, who’s the most exhausted or who’s working the hardest. Busyness is the new status symbol we’re all fighting to win... and for what?
Although many of us would say that we like to be kept busy, never wanting to be sat at our desks twiddling our thumbs, being too busy doesn’t do anything for us. It makes us irritable, stressed and burnt out. We’re all too exhausted to be our best selves, our eye bags are not our strongest look, and we’re certainly not happy when there’s a lack of fun in our lives. However, it’s not always easy to be objective and change old habits, especially when everyone around you is playing the same game. So, to help you get started, here are our top tips for quitting the busy Olympics:
Focus On You & Don’t Get Caught In A Comparison Trap
Our desire to be the busiest and always feel like we should be doing more, or doing better, often stems from comparison or a fear of judgement. We feel guilty when we hear someone else is working late or is out socialising when you’re at home lying on the sofa. Just because so-and-so is working out at 5:30 am, doesn’t mean you have to be, especially if it’s not a time that you perform best.
Question What Makes You Happy & Learn To Say No
Many of us feel like we have too many plans, but a large chunk of said plans are things we don’t actually want to do. Have no desire to go for that drink with an ex-colleague? Honesty is the best policy and learning to say no to social plans or work events that just don’t interest you, will mean you have more time to prioritise things like sleep, relaxing, and other things you enjoy.
Prioritise Efficiency & Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate
Being busy is the new status symbol, but does it actually mean we’re being efficient or productive? A lot of the time we work long hours but aren’t actually as productive as we could be. Schedule your day and find a working environment that makes you most efficient, and don’t be afraid to delegate when appropriate to take some unnecessary jobs off your plate.
Work on Your Mindset
When you think about it, busy is a state of mind that we bring on ourselves. This is why to some, having a couple of long meetings and drinks after work is a crazy day, but for others, working out and dropping their kids at school before getting to an 8 am meeting is just the norm. Even a small tweak in your mindset and starting to become aware of how your perceptions could affect your stress levels will make a huge difference to your day. Try to look for the positives and make an effort to change that “I’m so busy” automated response to something like, “there are some really exciting opportunities going on for me right now”.