It's Time To Ditch 'Busy' As A Badge Of Honor

It's time to stop worshipping at the altar of busy.

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Though it's been a long time since I was a Girl Scout, I remember a thing or two about earning badges. I don't believe there's a badge for "busy", and yet it's a trait we all seem to lust after now as adults. Let's be honest, here:  "busy" has become the new black. There is rarely a person I talk with who doesn't say he or she is busy.

Sometimes, it seems as if people are vying to win the contest of who is the busiest. Trust me, darling, there's no prize for that contest. Want to know a secret to becoming enchanted with your life? "Busy" leads to burnout. In fact, kitten, here's the truth about "busy" as a lifestyle:

  1. Busy disconnects us from those that we love. When you're rushing from here to there, there's no time for our partners, children, family or friends. Busy becomes an excuse to not spend time with people we love.
  2. Busy becomes the answer to "how are you", which disconnects you from your body's natural GPS system: your feelings!
  3. Busy is a form of numbing. Just like alcohol or overeating numbs us to living life, busy keeps us from feeling.
  4. Busy squashes joy. When you numb the icky feelings you may be trying to avoid by being busy all the time, you also numb your ability to feel the good stuff!
  5. Busy becomes an excuse not to take care of ourselves. We eat fast food instead of cooking and skip things like regular doctor visits.
  6. Busy pushes us to do more and forsake the things we need to stay healthy, like adequate sleep.
  7. Busy leads to exhaustion. Our bodies aren't meant to be on the go 24/7. Not only do we need rest, but we also need play!
  8. Busy doesn't equal worthy. No matter how much you do in a day, life will never be perfect.
  9. Busy becomes our identity. We buy into the idea that if we aren’t busy, we will be seen as lazy, unambitious or as an underachiever. So we fill our schedules indiscriminately.
  10. Busy leads to drama. When we're on the edges of burnout, we're more likely to make mountains out of molehills.
  11. Busy distracts us from our dreams and goals.
  12. Busy is addicting. We don’t know how to relax or what to do with our idle time, so we fill it.

Do you recognize yourself in this list? Oh, darling, you are not alone. What can you do if busy has become your identity and you're ready to ditch busy as a badge of honor?  Here are twelve ways to start:

  1. Really review your calendar. Are you filling your time with activities that you really desire to do? Or are you filling your time simply to feel the time? Begin bowing out of things that don't really serve your goals.
  2. Are you overcommitting your time? You are a finite resource! Ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that can happen if a particular task isn't done?"
  3. Are you saying yes to things that don't feed your spirit? Remember that "No." is a complete sentence.
  4. Are you allowing yourself enough "white space" in your life? White space is the gap between rest and exhaustion. It is the space between breathing freely or feeling as if you are suffocating. Think of it like empty space on your calendar!
  5. Are you allotting time to work towards your New Year's goals? If you want to make those dreams a reality, you must have time to work toward them!
  6. Are you always tired? Reduce the tasks on your to do list, turn off Facebook, and go to bed earlier.
  7. Are you keeping yourself busy so that you don't have to feel?  Be honest with yourself around what feelings you're trying to avoid.
  8. Are you creating sacred time in each day? Allow for tiny moments to discover the beauty in the everyday art of living. Take a deep breath and a few minutes for a little prayer or meditation.
  9. Do you have routines that support your dreams? I know routines sound boring and very unglamorous, but they are the backbone to living.
  10. Are you overscheduling your kids? Keep your children's extra-curricular activities to one or two per child. Kids need time to be kids and just play, especially unstructured play. And they need plenty of good sleep!
  11. Do your children model your busy behavior? Children who have all their time planned never learn how to amuse themselves. Children need to learn how to entertain themselves and play alone. It also allows them to dream and be creative.
  12. Are you doing things that you can delegate? Consider hiring someone to clean the house or mow the lawn while you work on a project is wise. You can also barter activities with a friend.

One of the most valuable commodities you have is your precious focus and attention.  It's time to stop worshipping at the altar of busy. It's time to become smitten with yourself and enchanted with your life. 

Begin to move toward creating life you love by ditching busy as a badge of honor. Because, darling, you're worth it.

Know you need to be less busy but aren't sure where to start? You don’t have to do it alone. Check out ways we can work together.

Debra Smouse is a Tarnished Southern Belle who threw away her busy badge in 2010. She's love to help you ditch yours. Visit her website or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.


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