Last Friday I arranged a day-trip to Storm King Art Center. After an eventful week I was anxious to get out from the city and breathe in the peace of the empowering nature. The sculptures were creating a contrast with the nature in this outdoor museum and nature itself looked like piece of art glowing in the afternoon sun, celebrating the fall with all the shades of orange, yellow, red and brown.
I almost got hypnotized when I stared at the Sea Change, the moving sculpture created by George Cutts. Two poles made of stainless steel were revolving softly in the air, balancing and flowing with ease. “I have all the time in the world. I sit here and I breath and I let myself just be as long as I want to,” I said to myself breathing in the sunlight and slowly switching off the autopilot I hadn’t even noticed I had switched on.
Last week I heard myself saying out loud, “I’ve been busy. Where does all the time go, I don't have time to do anything properly.” I felt I had done a lot on the week but still hadn't done enough. It was a sign to me to stop thinking what was going on.
BUSYNESS HAS BECOME A NORM I usually don’t like using the “being busy” term as there’s a negative tone in it. It's related to struggle and stress and unbalance.
There is a general belief if people are not busy, they are not successful or important. Or ambitious! The signs of stress and insomnia are common topics at the workplaces.
Being busy is a humble brag. It makes people to feelsignificant. It's understandable, many long attention and approval from the others when they don't have time to praise themselves.
Sadly busyness has become a standard, being stressed out is an approved way of living.
- Even though it is draining and people feel they never get there and reach the goals as it feels nothing is enough.
- Even though it makes people feel frustrated, anxious, restless, numb, cranky, unemotional,sleepless and so dead tired their head is humming.
Many are sacrificing their own wellness to busyness. Convincing themselves it will stop one day... which won't happen.
WHO ARE WE FIGHTING AGAINST? Usually people are blaming the others, "them" or work or today’s lifestyle in general.
I know, there are expectations, obligations, demands from others and the society sets the norms – a lot of them.
Work-life balance? There's no regular working hours anymore. Work has become part of life but the balance in between work and personal is still necessary.
WE ARE FIGHTING AGAINST OURSELVES AND OUR INCAPABILITY TO CONTROL OUR LIFE.
When the old habits are not working, the new ways must be learnt. Who are we serving if not ourselves and our own wellbeing?
I yearned after my freedom when I was working at the office. I have had to learn the new ways to work as an entrepreneur, from time management to running the business.
I have had to take the responsibility and stop hiding behind the busyness as I see the results of my work and my wellbeing every day. I want to keep my balance and happiness I was able to found.
HOW BUSYNESS CREATES UNHAPPINESS Our world is full of entertainment, information, technology and distractions. People basically live in the symbiosis with their screens. There is a lot going on since morning till evening (and often during the nights when mind won’t switch off).
Scattered unfocused mind creates the chaos and the suffering.
This is what being crazy busy does to human beings:
- When busyness takes the lead, the external and internal demands and standards start directing the life and the autopilot switches on.
- Task after task people fulfill their duties under the pressure.
- Soon they start doing what they rationally should do rather than what they want to do.
- People long for peace and balance and start believing in the mantra “then when I get this and that, I will…” but that day will never come.
- Soon the feelings of fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness are not reached. Frustration, anxiety and negativity and all the signs of stress show up.
- People try to tame their anxiety and non-feeling externally with medication, food, drugs, alcohol, exercise, sex and social media, which leads to new unhealthy habits and addictions.
- In the long run they start losing the connection with their emotions and intuition, the inner guidance system (spirit / soul / heart) and forget where they were originally going, and who they truly are.
- And, long-term unhappiness creates physical and mental diseases.
SOUNDS SCARY, RIGHT? Yes. If the stress levels stay high for a long time, eventually we will get sick when the body-mind-spirit are not in balance.
Five years ago I collapsed on the couch and couldn't get up. I had to finally face my situation, I was burned myself out.
It took a long time to recover and learn the new healthy and selfish habits. The first thing I did was to learn to listen of myself, be kind for myself and set the limits by saying NO.
When people are in balance, they know how to control their time without enslaving themselves to external demands. They slow down and lower the stress levels and follow their feelings when things heat up.
And still do a lot, achieve more and be more productive.
LAST FRIDAY I sat on that bench and stared at the Sea Change I realized how I had got into the busy trap last week.
I looked back at my week and realized there were a lot, a lot of time that I could have used better if I would have been consistent with my planning and self-control. It doesn’t mean all the hours are strictly planned and full of work – it’s the other way round.
BEING ORGANIZED helps to achieve more and do less! Self-control brings FREEDOM.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME:
- Make a list what you have on the desk and in the calendar for the week – all the projects and tasks, not only work related but everything. Even though it would be a lot, don't get anxious about it: Flowing without knowing or planning means you are not in control and it leads to that busyness trap.
- PLAN and PRIORITIZE your time and how you use it.
- MAKE TASK LIST for every day. Pick only two or three most important things per day and decide how much time you use for doing them. It’s easy to believe you can do more than you can but the you feel like you get nothing done. Planning makes you more flexible and prepared for those sudden changes and you still have time to enjoy and rest and digest.
- Say NO, in a nice way. To yourself, your chattery mind and to others, don’t let them eat your schedule. Be happy about the opportunities and suggest a time which is good for you.
- KEEP YOUR FOCUS on one thing at a time. No distractions during the time you do your tasks (Insta photos and quick Facebook scrolls, emails, cat videos etc.) – stay strictly focused on your task until it’s done. You have plenty of time for fun later.
- Don’t start your morning with immediate distractions. Leave your mobile phone alone! Keep calm and meditate for 10 minutes, the created balance will carry you throughout the day.
- Live in the moment and follow your schedule.
This sounds a lot but actually it isn't. It helps you to prioritize and get more things done. Be consistent and patient!
Happy planning and self-control!