We're All Busy - Ditching the Excuses

Hello, it's been a while. Happy New Year!

I took a break from writing blog posts while I was doing my masters over the summer and working part-time. Things were a little bit chaotic and definitely overwhelming at times - I was busy. I internally laugh every time some tells me how busy they are. I'm guilty of saying it too, but I'm trying to kick the habit.

The truth is if you work/study full-time or have children, you've got a lot of things demanding your time. How you spend your time is a reflection of what you prioritise out of desire or necessity. I've been working full time in my graduate job for four months. I get more done in an evening now than I did while I was studying, the reason - I've kicked a lot of time-sucking habits that were 0% productive.

"Activity suggests a life filled with purpose." 
- Captain Von Trapp, The Sound of Music

Priorities

I like to look at my time in a similar way to running a business, to stay in the black you need to have a good percentage of billable hours - or productive time. This could be anywhere between 50%-90%. However, you cannot have your billable hours always at 100%; otherwise, administration tasks would pile up, and the business would eventually fail.

So how is this applicable to your calendar?

Your administration time might include sleep, laundry, self-care, cleaning, cooking etc.
Your billable hours are your job, childcare, meeting friends, hobbies, exercise etc.

Start with what you need to do - sleep and work, schedule in time for some administration tasks. I try to wash any clothes I have during the week to free up my weekends. Some time is more covetable than others, you don't want to leave your administration tasks to pile up for it to take away from your productive time. When you plan your time effectively, you'll allow yourself more time for meeting friends and enjoying hobbies.

The Lie

We're all guilty of it, we've told ourselves we're too busy to do something that has either cost us money or time with loved ones. The truth - for the most part, we misuse our time. I don't remember the last time I watched Netflix alone, I used to waste a lot of time watching it or YouTube and claim to be too busy to do other things. I wasn't just lying to other people, I was lying to myself. In order to subdue the guilt, I deluded myself into genuinely thinking I had no time for other things.

I'm not condemning watching Netflix or YouTube, but it was neither administration or productive time when it's at the expense of something else. The third account of time - squandered time.
We all squander time, on various tasks often out of procrastination or lack of interest. If you're still able to fit everything you want into your week, then there is no issue. However, if you've said no to meeting your friend for the third time saying you're "too busy" then maybe it's time to look at where you're squandering your time to finally schedule that coffee.

I'm Too Busy

No - you're not. It just isn't a priority.

I was listening to a podcast from The Skinny Confidential Him and Her Ep. 217 with guest Greg McKeown (ps. if you haven't listened to any of their episodes you need to, they have tonnes of amazing guests.). Lauryn, Michael and Greg highlighted that we try to say we're SO BUSY and brag about how LITTLE sleep we've had as if it's a badge of honour - please sleep, your body needs it!

"Being busy is for the bees" - Michael Bosstick

Declining a social event because you need some time to read a book, take a bath or spend some time with your family is 100% ok. I think a declaration of busyness is often used as a shield to avoid the reasons you are really turning down invitations. Perhaps you're overwhelmed, and you can't contemplate going out for dinner after work - instead of saying you're too busy, tell the person inviting you how you're feeling and offer an alternative time where possible.

Learn to be honest with yourself about why you are turning something down. There is nothing wrong with saying no, just recognise if it's because of a calendar clash or a lack of priority.

The Exception

Sometimes you might have agreed to do too much, this is the exception. If this is the situation you're faced with, take a look at the tasks you can delegate, postpone or cancel. There are only 24hrs in a day, and you need to sleep. Being aware of your limits will help you avoid overextending yourself and missing out on activities that bring you a lot of joy.

The Balance

Being an adult is eternally trying to find a balance between what you feel you have to do with what you want to do. You might feel like you'll never get it right, and it's probably because you're too rigid with yourself. I don't know anyone with a static calendar that is predictable from week to week. Learning that your time is more like sliding scales than a fixed number of hours per week for each task. Sometimes you'll need to work more and to avoid feeling overwhelmed, it's important to know what your priorities are and where you can pull back when needed.

Next time you feel like saying you're too busy ask yourself if that's really true. After all, you're not a bee.


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