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How To Stop Being “Busy”

For the last couple of years, I’ve been filling my calendar with events and plans for the sake of being busy.

I didn’t do it intentionally, but I thought I needed to be at every event or I would miss out on something. Lately, however, I’ve been working on winding down, spending less time doing things just to say “hey look at me I did this”, refusing to commit to things that I know I don’t have interest in, and feeling less guilty about turning down invites.

For a while, all I knew was “go go go” and I had a bad case of FOMO, which often left me feeling overwhelmed, tired, and irritable. It also made me a flake. I was so hell-bent on saying ‘yes’ to everything that  I would often find myself not having the energy to do whatever it was that I’d committed myself to.

Recently, I read an article on No Sidebar about “The Business of Busy” and it really got me thinking about other ways in which I could simplify my life. How could I make more time for me and the things that really mattered in my life? How could I overcome this ongoing feeling of being overwhelmed and anxious? How could lose the fear of missing out that I’d acquired?

And from it, this is what I gathered:

Write down and know your values.

Focus on what matters. I spent time writing down the three most important things in my life. Those three things would guide me in my decision making and help me to understand the things that clutter my time. It would also allow me to get over that nagging feeling of guilt every time I declined an invitation or “opportunity”.

Get comfortable with the word “no” (it’s okay to say no to people, events, and invites)

This is a one that I struggle with the most. As someone who looks to make everyone happy around me, I’ve always been one to want to say “yes” to everything. ‘Yes, I can babysit. Yes, I will be at your party. Yes, you can call me whenever and I’ll be there. Yes. Yes. Yes’ Unfortunately by saying yes to everything, I was saying “no” to myself. I was filling up my time with everyone else, that I had little time myself. This often led to me canceling plans at the last minute or rushing from point A to point B. I was trying hard to be everywhere at every moment for everyone.

Stop comparing yourself to others… everyone has different values.

In the age of social media, it’s easy to get lost in comparing your life to everyone else’s. Johnny is a hotshot lawyer and owns a big house and fancy car. Susan’s blog has 10,000 subscribers in just four months while I only have 100. Keisha has been to over five countries in just four months. The list goes on and on.

Just stop right now.

Johnny, Susan, and Keisha are not (insert your name here). I for sure wish I was Keisha and Susan combined, but that’s not my life. And that’s okay. I don’t have to be. I can just be Patty – a part-time traveler, newbie blogger with a growing fan base,  and a homeowner with a little fixer-upper condo in the city. It’s all a part of my journey.  Susan, Johnny, and Keisha could have different values than I do. Johnny could be paying for everything using massive credit lines while I’m focused on my financial health. Susan could have purchased her subscriber list while I plan to grow my audience organically. And Keisha could be a nomad with nothing but a backpack that she owns.

We all have different values and you have to know yours. I value time, flexibility, and freedom and that’s what I focus on day to day.

Find time to pause the hustle. (Rest)

Do not …I repeat.. Do not listen to those people that spread the idea “All Hustle No Sleep”. REST! I’m not sure about those people, but my tank cannot run on empty. I need to refuel in order for my gears to run and the juices to flow. You can only do that by allowing your body time to rest and rejuvenate.

Be honest with yourself

Lose that feeling of obligation. There is nothing like a guilt trip from obligations. Obligations will have you saying yes to things you really want to say no to,  giving your last few dollars, and feeling guilty that you aren’t superwoman/man.

Be honest with yourself. If you don’t really want to go say “I don’t want to go” or “I’ll let you know” if you’re unsure. If you don’t have the money, say that you can’t afford it.

Overall, the biggest takeaway is to understand you. Know what your values are and lead with them every day.

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