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Feeling busy? A couple of years ago, I decided that I was no longer going to use the word busy to describe myself. It so often appeared in my vocabulary, in conversations with others and the chatter in my head. I was always talking about being busy, not having enough time and felt like I was racing from thing to thing and place to place.

The words we use day to day are so important. How do you feel even right now, reading and thinking these statements:

  • I am so busy
  • There’s not enough time
  • I can’t get everything done
  • I can’t do it, I don’t have time.

It feels stressful doesn’t it? Ironically (or not so much, really!), in the times where I explained myself as busy a lot, I felt tired, overwhelmed, stressed and that I didn’t have enough time. I started with the idea, that maybe if I stopped at least describing myself as busy, I might at least slow down my thoughts and feel less stressed. I was pretty surprised to see, that as soon as I reduced (I do try not to use ‘busy’ at all but it does slip out sometimes) my use of the word. I felt less busy and overwhelmed. I also started to think about my life differently and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I started saying busy less, I started feeling less busy and funnily enough I actually started being less busy.

There are a few reasons why busy grated me.

Busy as a badge of honour

I really dislike that we use being ‘busy’ as a badge of honour and proof of our importance. I’ve been in conversations with people so many times (and I’m a guilty party here, I used to totally describe myself as busy) that went something like this.⠀

“How are you? Busy?”⠀

“Yeah, busy, good but busy”⠀

We nod at each other like, yep, I get you, we’re sooo busy (aren’t we so important!).⠀

And that’s the part I dislike. That somehow being busy is the norm, what we’re striving for, loaded calendars, heaving weekends rushing from one thing to another so that we feel in demand, popular and wanted. Yet there’s no time for the things we really want to do, there’s no space and we wonder why we feel stressed, tired and overwhelmed. ⠀

It’s an oft used saying but I really believe we place to much emphasis on the doing and not on the being. I found I wanted to be more and that actually became more important, I started seeing time and space as luxurious and that became my badge of honour. How much spaciousness do I have in my calendar. We all want more time and space, I dropped striving for busy and that’s what I found.

Busy as avoidance

I also used being busy as a form of avoidance. I didn’t know who I was and I felt scared to have time along and with myself. What might I find? Who might I be? Happy to say, I found me when I opted out of busy and I really like me. I could look at my strengths, weaknesses, what I really wanted out of life, who I wanted to become. I stopped avoiding the big questions and actually go to work on me and the life I wanted to create.

Yes, I had to face some pain. Past hurts, things I didn’t like about myself, truths I didn’t want to accept but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t looked at all of it.

Busy = stress

For me, being busy as an introvert felt stressful. I’m prone to anxiety and need to consciously slow down. Although I do love socialising, meeting people and being around people, I do need time alone to replenish and reenergize.

The last few years I just decided to stop being busy. I very rarely commit to anything that’s on a Sunday, I don’t load things in on the evenings during the week, I was telling a friend that I usually aim for one outing/big job/or commitment a day – of course it doesn’t always work but when there’s only one thing to do that day, it is a really good, spacious day.

So, yes. I’m a mum of 2, I work with clients, study, read books, run a house and do the backend work for running on online biz, exercise, socialise and whatever else…. but I’m actually not that busy, it’s a choice, a feeling and something we can completely opt-out of.

The words we use in our language over and over again, completely impact the way we think and the way we feel. Want to feel less stressed? Stop telling yourself that your stressed, overwhelmed and busy. Sounds simple I know but it actually works. Make the change in your life within first and watch the external begin to catch up.