Let’s define busy
“Busy” definitions: having a great deal to do; occupied with or concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention; excessively detailed or decorated.
We become immersed in projects and activities for a number of reasons. I’m going to mention two common reasons. One reason that we become busy, is simply because life becomes chaotic. We play many roles in life, like being a parent, partner, sibling, friend, coworker, employer, community member, etc. There are household projects waiting to be completed and extracurricular activities to take the kids to. There are areas and tasks that we must prioritize. Life gets crazy, FAST. With multiple things occurring at once, we must act before losing control.
The second reason that we become busy is because it is in human nature. We prefer to be busy because achievement feels good. There’s a rush of dopamine and our brains remember what it feels like. Remembering what it feels like drive us into the feedback loop, meaning that we will seek it out again and again.
Our brains even anticipate success before we’ve fully finished what we were doing. An everyday example is tidying up the house. Once we see the house getting organized and clean, we begin to start to feel good about it. The cleaning isn’t finished but there’s progress. We might say to ourselves, “that feels better,” as we glance around the half tidied room. Then, we continue cleaning until we’re finished. Before we finished cleaning, we had that sense of achievement.
Whatever your reason is for being busy, remember that your wellness is paramount. It is easy for wellness to take the back seat when we’re focused on projects and activities, but if we’re not taking care of ourselves, then we can’t take care of business. These tips are easy to apply to our busy lives and will promote well-being.
Goal setting, prioritize and be realistic
Some people have a tendency to set too many goals at once because they feel the need to. They may feel that there’s a ton to accomplish in the day. When focus is spread too thin, the outcomes are negative. Work on fewer goals at a time, less is more. Having less goals will reduce stress and will help increase productivity because it is easier to focus on less tasks at a time.
Prioritize your goals, projects and activities. In order to decide which goals to tackle first, examine the priority of each goal and rank them from most to least important. Work on two or three of the higher priority goals, first. Stay mindful that the number of goals that is worked on at a time should depend on the difficulty of the goal, itself. Lofty goals tend to be more time consuming, stressful and taxing. If three high priority goals are lofty, then consider working on one or two at a time.
Goals can be broken down into steps and written on a calendar to help stay on target of completing the goal on time. This method can be less stressful and taxing. When taking a lofty goal step by step, then one or two simpler goals that are higher priority can be added. Watch for lofty goals that are unrealistic because it is easier to become overwhelmed or discouraged before a work groove settles in. With the correct approach, taking smaller steps will still lead one to reach their goals.
Keeping a journal aids mental well-being. Journaling allows for time to unwind and relax. Jotting things down, instead of hoarding them inside of the mind can help decompress. We are freed-up from remembering things if they are written down, and writing can jog the memory of something we needed or wanted to do. In fact, journaling helps improve memory because we’re more likely to remember something if we physically write it down. We can better recall the information, even at times when it isn’t visually in front of our face.
Journal to track and explore thoughts, emotions and beliefs. Watch for patterns of reactions to situations. Realizing behaviors and feelings can lead to problem solving. Having a little extra insight can help one become more self-aware. Write in a journal once or twice a day. Find a time that works best. Try part way through the day (lunch time), and then towards the end of the day (before the bedtime routine). Keep in mind, you don’t have to write a lot. A sentence or two paragraphs will be helpful. Some people like to write a lot and some people jot down a few things. Do what works for you.
One final journaling tip, consider how consistent you want to be with it. If journaling isn’t a habit, then being consistent will be difficult. Set a specific goal and stay after it. Personally, I decided to journal (about two pages) once a week to once per month. I’ve been journaling this way for over a year. I only do it when I feel the need to. It works well for me.
We can ask someone we are comfortable with for feedback on how we’re emotionally perceived. Yes, this sounds scary. Someone else’s perspective on a particular situation is a tool. Ask a trustworthy friend or family member. There are things that we can learn from friends or family, like if we’re taking on too many projects at a time.
Note, that when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we become more sensitive or emotional because stress has taken a toll. If an overwhelming amount of stress occurs for a lengthy amount of time, then we become burnt out. Burn out is physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. When burnt out, it is more difficult to function normally and how a person reacts to burn out can impact others around them. Burn out is a sign that it is time to take a break and work on wellness and rejuvenation.
Asking for feedback might be the most difficult task of these three because it involves being vulnerable. We don’t always like to hear what another person has to say about them, but this is why it is important to chose someone we’re comfortable with. It is challenging to receive constructive criticism, it’s challenging not to beat ourselves up over the feedback. Listening to another person’s perception provides insight to promote well-being.
Implementing, practice and patience
Goal setting, journaling and receiving feedback from others, are effective wellness tips for the busy person. It takes practice to learn something new and for it to become a habit. Hang in there, be patient. It could take months to years for a habit to form. Practicing these tips will nurture overall well-being, increase organization and insight, help practice self-awareness, reduce stress, and promote productivity. Don’t let busyness overtake wellness.