Katie Whitsed | 98five blogger
You know those times where you feel you just need to stop, and get everything into order? When it feels like everything is just a bit chaotic, and you’re doing a bit of everything, but not really doing anything ‘well’?
Over time, I have realised several things about how I cope when things get ‘busy’.
That word ‘busy’, what do you think of when you hear it? Is it a good thing, or a stressful thing?
To me, being busy is not a nice word. Busy is confused, it’s flustered, and it’s unproductive. Busy consumes energy, and lots of it, along with a whole lot of time, with often little profit and return. In fact, being in a state of busyness can leave you in deficit.
I’ve learnt that busy makes me stressed and anxious. I think that one way we can look at the way we spend our time, is on a continuum of how much direction and purpose we feel is present in our lives. On one end, there’s busy, hectic, non-stop, which lacks direction and purpose. It’s just…busy. And some of the time if we’re not careful, we can wind up being busy doing a whole lot of nothing. As you move up the continuum, things may still be hectic and non-stop, however with developing, increasing and strengthening direction and purpose, busy starts to turn into ‘intentional’.
Coming from someone who wants and needs to pack lots into their everyday life, I have found myself on both extremes of this continuum. I used to be busy. Overwhelm was a regular state of being for me. It was my normal. I’d find myself so caught up in my busyness that I’d start to feel like I was running in circles, always ending up back at the same point — tired, and unaccomplished.
Now that I have more focus on and understanding of my purpose, which comes through my faith and developing relationship with God, I can start moving with vision, with intention. It’s empowering, it’s uplifting, and it releases the burden of busyness. Of course everyone has their days, so this is something I need to remind myself of and work on…daily.
Whether you can relate to this feeling or not, being able to prioritise, is key to achieving any goal you have. I don’t believe in the words: “I don’t have time for that”. Think about it. Every single person has exactly the same number of hours in the day, 24 hours, no more, no less. If you find yourself saying you don’t have time, it’s not that you don’t have time. You have the same amount of time as the next person. It’s that you are making a choice to prioritise one thing over the other. Which is a good thing. We can’t do it all.
Just making this slight shift in self-talk can have a massive impact in itself. Rather than saying “I don’t have time”, say to yourself “I choose not to do that right now”. The word “should” is another big one. Don’t use it. Your words have power. Be careful how you speak to yourself.
Life is a constant balancing of priorities.
I’m the kind of person that’s always going to have a lot going on, and I know you’re either going to be able to relate to that, or not at all. If you do, one strategy that helps me to stay ‘intentional’ is a strategy I learnt some time ago now, and it’s a great way to ‘prioritise your priority list’. If you’re feeling too busy, overwhelmed, stuck or losing momentum, use the 4D strategy.
It’s about looking at all the tasks you want or need to do, and breaking them down from just one long list, into more manageable components; what you need to do, what you can delay, what can be delegated, and what you can altogether delete. When I notice I’m moving closer to the busy end of the spectrum, and losing my intentional, I like to sit down and literally divide my tasks on paper (with colours if it helps) according to the following:
These are tasks that absolutely need to be done today.
Tasks that can wait until tomorrow, or the next day, can go into the delay box. These are the types of tasks that, if they don’t get done right away, won’t significantly impact another person, or yourself.
This one comes back to the point there’s no ‘I’ in team, and that life was created to do with other people, and not in isolation. One can be so much more efficient and productive, if they lean on and utilise the resources around them. That includes other people. If it is a task that you can delegate and somebody else can support you with it, then pass it on.
Ask yourself, is this something that I actually need and/or want to do? If not, delete it. There is no point holding onto tasks just for the sake of doing them. If it’s not going to help you or another person achieve long- or short-term goals, then it’s just making you busy.
The other extremely important thing to consider is the most important question you can ask yourself:
Why do you do what you do each day? What do you spend your time on, and why? Is it purposeful, and meaningful to you? If not, delete it. It is not worth spending precious time on things you do not value or see purpose in.
Let go of the burden of busyness and obligation, and choose joy. It’s a daily commitment to be intentional, but with intentional-ity comes the best kind of joy.
Katie believes in dreaming fearlessly and has a deep passion for seeing other people experience joy and stepping into living their best lives. Her love of writing and self-expression inspired her to create a blog as an avenue for sharing her journey in choosing joy. The kind of joy that makes you smile for no reason at all, the kind you don’t have words for — Joy unspeakable. heartfeltjoy.com | Follow Katie on Facebook | Instagram