A Small Pep Talk For All The “Busy” Folk
This is a bit of a yin and yang pep talk. I'll start off explaining why you should say "no" more, and then loop back around to argue that you should say "yes" more- but bear with me.
There are so many kinds of “busy,” and this concept of being busy really dawned on me during the past few days because it is extremely relevant to my life at the moment. If you know me personally and have asked me to hang out in the past 6 months, odds are I’ve said no. And I probably think you’re great and actually like you, but doing a post-grad, nannying part-time, launching this website, cooking, keeping up with the gym and my other self-care priorities have made me a Jedi at turning down almost all social engagements.
Despite being the Queen of Busy, I was recently given an absolutely insane opportunity (that I cannot share just yet), and despite my never ending piles of work, I decided to say yes. Given how “busy” I am, this seemed absolutely bat shit crazy to me... and yet about a week later, my life is flowing in perfect synchronicity like never before. This little pep talk is here to help you prioritize yourself and learn to say NO don’t inspire you, and yet not be afraid to say YES to more than you think you can handle, if it lights your soul on fire.
First of all, it’s time to get really good at saying “no” to things you don’t want to do. So often we find ourselves inundated with things “to do” that we don’t actually want to be doing at all. I know this can be hard in a world full of commitments and a society that glorifies the grind, but start to cultivate a respect for your time, yourself, and your life.
An easy way to start exercising your right to say “no” is with commitments with individual people who don’t inspire you, who drain you, or drag you down. You deserve to be surrounded by positive, supporting, loving, and caring people. The people you surround yourself with is a direct reflection of how much you value yourself, and what you think you deserve.
Once you’ve empowered yourself with the “no” word on a smaller scale, start to tackle larger things. When you think of your day today, or the week ahead: does the majority of your day/ week excite you? Why not? We pursue jobs that drain us, that don’t inspire us, that over work us- and then we complain about being anxious and depressed. Depression and anxiety are more often than not totally self-inflicted. And this is not victim blaming, quite the opposite. Deciding to take ownership for your own happiness is daunting, but it is the most empowering thing you can do. Before drinking 50 cups of caffeine to get through the day or taking pills to suppress anxiety or depression: ask yourself what the root cause of your unhappiness and lethargy is. This can be very triggering, because it might mean you’ve been spending years in a job or relationship that makes you unhappy. It might mean it’s time to cut ties with friendships you’ve had since childhood, quit your job, or move to another country. Don't be afraid of change, especially if the place you currently stand sucks. Put yourself and your time first: being busy is not a sign of success, it’s just a sign you’re doing things. If these things don’t put a smile on your face: mate, it’s time to make a change.
After that rant telling you to do less… let me now persuade you to do more.
You see, the goal isn’t necessarily to just simply do less. Much like being busy, being not busy isn’t a sign of success either. Taking part in meaningful relationships, spending time on your craft, working on projects you love and inspire you, being creative, cultivating hobbies, exercising.. these are all activities that can also make for a very “busy” person- but the outcome is not the same. When your dedicating your time vehemently working on your purpose, every minute of work is an investment in your happiness. This concept has been beaten to death my guru’s and motivational speakers (cringe), but it’s something worth investigating in your own life.
This section wasn’t actually meant to be about “finding your purpose” at all, so let me re-focus. Sometimes it seems like we have SO many things to do that we couldn’t possibly take on another commitment; but if an opportunity arises that genuinely sets your soul on fire: take it. Take it, no matter how many other things are going on, and watch what happens. I speak from experience because prior to taking a recent (unfathomably time consuming, massive project)- I was already swamped with never ending to-do lists, essays, projects, work, writing for the site, cooking, exercise, etc. And yet, I said yes- and my life transformed. I started to be more efficient, in everything I did. My time management (which honestly has been my weakest link my entire life) sky rocketed. I intuitively went into Jedi mode and realized that if I wanted to make all my priorities work, I had to put in the work.
Despite achieving milestones in my life and accomplishing many things I am super proud of, I have always been the ultimate procrastinator. I’ve mastered the last minute essay, and whatever other analogy you can think of to reinforce the fact I was damn good at putting shit off. And yet somehow, saying YES to more work, work that inspires the daylights out of me, forced me to step it up.
Get really good at saying “no” to things that don’t excite you, but on the flip side, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to things that light you up. Only you can be the judge of the type of “busy” that you are, and a tell-tale sign will be how happy you are when you get into bed at night, and how excited you are to hop out of bed in the morning.
What aspects of your life need trimming? What types of engagements do you think taking on could help you get in a better flow?
I’m far from having it all figured out, but man- it feels good to see a side of myself I haven’t tapped into in perhaps all 27 years of my existence. We are not stagnant beings- don’t limit yourself to your results of the Myers-Briggs or base your future on patterns you’ve systematically replicated in the past.
What are your tips for managing a busy life? How do you keep it all together? I’d genuinely love to know. Comment below!