Why are we so busy? “I’m so busy, I met myself coming back!” One of my high school English teachers used to always use that phrase in class. Have you ever taken the time to analyze why you feel so busy? Is it a good busy or a bad busy? And why do we feel the need to escape from our busy schedules?
After coming back from a weekend church retreat, my wife and I sat down to analyze our busy lives. Later, I’ll walk you through the steps we took to get to some clarity.
The Difference Between Stupid Busy and Smart Busy
Did you know there is a difference? Take a moment an analyze whether your current schedule is filled with stupid busy or smart busy.
- Stupid busy is when you’re hunting for that same file for the third time.
- Stupid busy is when you’ve committed valuable time on your schedule because you wanted to please someone else.
- Stupid busy is when you have a “Yes, I can save the world” mentality.
- Stupid busy is when you always let other people’s emergencies become your emergency.
- Stupid busy is when you find your identity in being busy.
What is smart busy then you ask?
- Smart busy is when you are a life on a mission
- Smart busy is when you lose track of time while working in your genius zone
- Smart busy is when you spend time on high-leverage activities
- Smart busy is when you have courage to say no to the good to make room for the great
How to Create a Life You Don’t Need to Escape in 3 Steps
If you feel busy about the wrong things, let me try to provide a few insights for you today. My wife and I carved out an entire Friday to walk through this process. I’d recommend that you do something similar. Be sure to include your spouse so you can get on the same page as you move forward.
Step 1: Discover the Why
In order to not feel so busy, you need to discover why you want to be less busy. The goal for us was not to get rid of a bunch of commitments so we can sit and watch the Price is Right TV show everyday. The goal was not so we could move from busy to boredom.
As a couple we discovered two specific areas where we wanted to create margin AND the reason for doing so.
1. Margin with our time – As I’ve talked about before, I believe kindness happens in the margin of life. Our business can make us self-focused without even realizing it. We simply don’t have time for others because our schedules won’t allow us. We determined that we wanted to make margin with our time.
2. Margin with our treasure – Treasure is a Biblical term for money. If you think about it, there is really only two areas in life that you have control over – where you spend your time and your treasure.
Wtih that in mind, we completed this statement:
“We want to create margin with our time and our treasure so that… [fill in the blank]
Step 2: Identify the What
Next, we dove in deep and decided to identify all the things we were spending our time and treasure on. We placed everything on the table. This can be hard because each person has strong reasons as to why they want to hold on to some things.
We used a whiteboard and wrote down everything that completed these two questions:
1. Where are we spending our time?
2. Where are we spending our treasure?
Once we got most of it written out, the 80/20 principle came into clear view. What were the 20% of the activities that were contributing to the 80% of the busyness that we were feeling? We then circled 6 items on our board that we needed to discuss deeper.
Step 3: Establish the How
This last step just might be the hardest. Change can be hard. One decision can have a domino effect on other areas of your life. We decided to create one final list on the whiteboard. We answered this thought:
In order to say goodbye to survival mode we need to…[fill in the blanks]
Once you have your list, you now need a game plan. I won’t lie. This step takes courage. We decided to draw 4 boxes on the whiteboard side-by-side and then labelled them: Ideal, Option 2, Option 3, and Option 4.
In each box, we had three sections from top to bottom which were labelled: Decision, Pros, and Cons. This allowed for us to think outside of the box even if we weren’t too excited about that particular decision.
I hope you will give this a try. This process has allowed us to get clarity, have courage, and have a reason for fighting for the margin we so desperately want.
Question: How about you? What steps have you taken to create more margin? You can leave a comment by clicking here.