Be Less Busy in 4 Simple Steps

When’s the last time you heard someone say that they weren’t busy? Unless you know a lot of folks who are retired or have recently won a pile of cash, probably never. We’re all busy, all the time. The trouble starts when we stop being productive and start chasing busy-ness for its own sake.

Janet Choi, the chief creative officer at iDoneThis, recently addressed this issue in a post on Lifehacker. I culled these tips from her excellent advice (which is worth reading, no matter how busy you are).

1. Figure Out Why You’re So Busy

By this, I don’t mean, make a list of all your tasks and obsess over when you’re going to be able to accomplish them. No, this step is all about discovering why being busy is so important to you. Does it make you feel more important? Does it give you a way out of doing other things you don’t want to do — even if those things are ostensibly important to you, like working on your masterpiece? Are you afraid that if you’re not running all the time, you’ll miss out on something important?

2. Track Your Time

Many of us resist keeping track of our time (either on a spreadsheet or a specialized software program) because we’re afraid of what we’ll find out. Do it anyway. You might be surprised: instead of discovering that you’re wasting time reading the internet, you might find out that you spend too much of your day, say, answering emails. And there are about a hundred apps for that.

3. Change Your Language

Choi quotes time management expert Laura Vanderkam, who advises reframing things in terms of priority. So in other words, instead of saying, “I don’t have time to go to the doctor,” you’d says “my health isn’t a priority.” And then hopefully, you’d adjust your thinking.

4. Take a Break

You can’t figure out where you’re going if you never stop to look around. Choi advises us to “press pause” to gain perspective.

Tell Us What You Think

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(Photo Credit: john.schultz/Flickr)