Trying to squeeze too many activities into too few hours can leave you overwhelmed. Maybe you’re bragging about how busy you are because it secretly makes you feel important and successful. Maybe you’re under financial and family pressures that outstrip your resources.
Either way, there’s an epidemic of excessive busyness among modern adults that leaves us feeling rushed, discontent, and short on time. Try these major and minor solutions for managing your time and becoming more productive.
Major Antidotes to Excessive Busyness
Turn off your phone. Being connected all day long obviously plays a
big role in feeling overwhelmed. Switch off your devices at least two hours
before you go to bed. Try spending a day away from social media.
Live mindfully. Engage fully with whatever you’re doing. Focus
on one task at a time. You’ll reduce stress and enhance the quality of your
Choose your priorities. Think about your purpose and devote your time
to the activities that matter to you. Using your time wisely makes your life
Establish routines. Do you spend as much time coordinating your
work as actually performing it? A systematic approach turns frequent chores
into automatic habits. Do your grocery shopping on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Check your email and return phone calls before lunch and dinner.
Collaborate with others. We can accomplish more as a team. Focus on your
strengths and try to outsource or eliminate the remaining tasks.
Sleep more. Resist the temptation to sacrifice sleep in order to get more done.
Adequate rest makes you more effective. If you’re having trouble keeping your
eyes open, go to bed an hour earlier than usual.
Edit less. Let go of the past. Proof an email once and send it. If your kids eat and
wear clean clothes to school each day, you may not need to analyze your
housekeeping any further.
Count up your free time. Discovering more free time is like finding
money in the pocket of a jacket that’s been hanging in your closet for months.
Count the hours you have outside of work, commuting, and sleeping. Decide
how to use them before external demands swallow them up.
Tiny Antidotes to Excessive Busyness
Brew real coffee. The coffee break is being replaced by instant
powder packets you pour into boiling water. Sit down and share a real cup of
coffee with a friend.
Leave the office first. If you’re spending more time with the nighttime
cleaning crew than with your family, see what it’s like to be the first one out
the door. Let your coworkers know in advance if it will smooth your departure.
Check your hair. Have you picked up some of the colorful
expressions for being busy, like you’re slammed or your hair is on fire? Moderating
your language is the first step to dialing down the tension.
Quit competing. Sometimes it sounds like we’re trying to top
each other when it comes to having a full plate. If someone starts talking
about their hair being on fire, try sympathizing and changing the subject to
something more constructive.
Stand still. Action bias is an innate force that makes us want to do something even if
it’s counterproductive. Give yourself permission to stop and ponder
If you’re feeling swamped, it’s time to create more balance in your life. Along with challenges and adventure, make room for mundane tasks and quiet reflection. You’ll soon find that less activity can be more fulfilling.