How to escape the ‘busy trap’ and create time

What’s with the glorification of busy anyway?

As with any self-destructive behaviour, the first step is admitting we have a problem. And, as a society, we are starting to grasp that concept!

People talk about ‘finding time for me’ and contemplating moving to the country for a slower, less moneyed, but quite possibly richer, life. More people are working part time so they can spend time with children, and more employers are accepting remote hours and glide-time as productive ways of working. And more of us are creating time for health and wellbeing in our lives.

What if all this ‘busyness’ is self-imposed?

It all began in 2012 with an incredible article in the New York Times by Tim Krieder – “The Busy Trap”. He began:

“If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” … It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are ... It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed.”

Are we trying to sound important by complaining about being busy? Is this how we validate ourselves? Has busyness become a measure of self-worth?

How are we self-programming our bodies to feel about this continual state of busyness? And how does this complaint make listeners feel if they aren’t lucky enough to have full employment, or children to run about after?

Creating time  - designing a less busy life

Yes, life can be incredibly jam-packed and there are things we need to do. But let’s look at removing some of the clutter and focusing on the things that truly matter in life.

Here’s a simple exercise to create more time – and room to thrive! Just for a moment, pretend you aren’t living such a busy life, and make some notes.

1. Write down the five things you love doing most.
2. Write down the five things you absolutely need to do each week to keep the wheels turning. This might be chores like weekly shop, cleaning the house, getting the kids to school, preparing meals - and going to work. 
3. Think of the five biggest time-wasters in any normal week. Some of these you might enjoy, but if you do too much of them, write them down. Things like sitting in traffic jams, spending time on social media, watching TV can burn up large amounts of time.
4. Make a note of the things you do in a normal week that are good for your wellbeing and health. Do any of these appear in your list of things you love?

Now think of a normal week in your life.

1. How often does it include any of the five things you love the most? How can you ensure that you create time to include more of them, more often?
2. How can you do the things you absolutely need to do more efficiently, to make time for the things you love? If you take public transport to work, can you get more reading done, or get to work faster? Can you do a fitness class at lunch time and get exercise? Can you cook dinner with your children to spend some time with them?
3. How much time is ‘wasted’ doing things that don’t appear on your lists of things you love or need to do? What habits need changing to reduce this wasted time?
4. How can you include more things that are good for your health and wellness? Think about exercise, nutrition and relaxation time.


We shared a post with 10 tips to beat busy last week! Follow Suna for more on how to avoid the busy trap.

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Tags: Wellbeing