“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”
– Jane Austen
It was another crazy morning rushing and running around the house to get out the door. Heaven forbid if I was a minute late, right? And of course, I created a big list of things I had to do. And heaven forbid if I didn’t do those things either, right?
As we were getting ready to leave, Hunter started to put on his gloves. But then, he thought it was a great idea to explore what the little glove fingers could do. Ugh, I didn’t have time for this. I was too busy! And the exploration of little glove fingers seemed to take forever. Now we really had to rush!
Frustrated, I said to Hunter, “Come on, come on, we have to hurry up!” Hunter looked up at me, sad and confused. Really Jodi? Poor Hunter. In the midst of my haste and busyness, I overlooked this precious moment of a child’s imagination at work. With a deep sigh, I realized I should have praised Hunter’s joyful playing instead of worrying about my busyness.
We are all too busy, plain and simple. “My life is crazy busy!” “I have too much stuff to do!” “I run around ragged all day!” Sound familiar? Unfortunately, these statements are typical things I hear people say everyday, myself included.
When you rush around crazy busy all day, how does they make you feel? Stressed, exhausted or anxious? Did you feel overwhelmed? I know it makes me tired and frazzled. And I really don’t want to feel anxious and be crazy busy anymore.
We all want to do it all and be it all. Being busy makes us feel important in a society where multi-tasking and doing a million things is praised and encouraged. Unfortunately, the path of busyness leads to a life with less meaning. But the path of non-busyness, leads to a life of peace appreciating every moment.
When you live in the state busyness, you miss the present moment enfolding in front of you. You become unaware of what’s happening around you and within you. When you live in the state of non-busyness, you mind becomes spacious, aware and relaxed.
There is freedom in slowing down and being less busy.Yes, you and I all have lots of things to do, but most of it can wait just a little bit longer. Your sanity will thank you for it. And, you’ll spend focused, quality time with family and friends instead of harried, rushed time. If you move with the presence of God, He will make sure things get done in perfect timing.
So right now, let’s stop being busy. Take a deep breath and relax. Now move forward slowly, step-by-step. Get rid of the extra busy work to free your mind. Be open to the space around you. Let it sink into your soul.
Here are some things I’m doing to slow down and be less busy. I am sure there are more ways, but maybe these will help you.
Make your to-do list smaller. Pick two or three important things — do those first. If you have time at the end of the day, do some other tasks. But just a couple things, you still need time to relax and calm your mind and body.
Complete your tasks mindfully focusing on the task at hand. Take your time and enjoy what you are doing.
Eliminate unnecessary busy work and anything that can be delegated to others. When you remove the extra stuff, this creates time for creative projects, family, meditation, prayer, exercise or being outside in nature.
Learn to say no to any requests or activities that are not a priority for you. Be kind, but firm when you say no. If he or she is your friend, your position will be respected. You also need to say no to yourself. It’s easy to over commit, but you need time to take care of yourself. Sometimes doing nothing lets you do something a 100 times better.
For a predetermined amount of time, turn off or put away your phone and close unnecessary browser windows and email. Do this in small increments – 15 minutes at a time. It will be the most productive 15 minutes of your day. Do you really need to check your email every five minutes? Or view your Facebook notifications at every opportunity? If you disconnect, the world will not explode. I assure you.
Every day practice sitting still while focusing on your breath. Eliminate distractions, turn off the TV, no music and just sit. Inhale and exhale. Feel the breathe on your nostrils. Be aware of your diaphragm expanding and contracting. When thoughts come, gently let them go.
Just start with five minutes a day. That’s all you need. Then end with a simple prayer, “God, please help me slow down and do the work that matters. Remind me to be still and know that you are God.”
It’s hard to let go of busyness. Especially when it’s a habit. It’s nurtures the ego because many of us equate being busy as a measure of our self-worth. We have been trained to believe the busier we are, the more special we are. So make the change slowly.
But being less busy nurtures the spirit creating openness and freedom allowing us to simply just be. Life will be filled with wonder and beauty as we appreciate and savor each and every moment.
So let’s not waste our lives on a bunch of busy nothings. Instead, let’s enjoy a few amazing somethings.