How to Be Less Busy all the Time

You can do anything, but you don't have to do everything. Learn how to be less busy all the time!

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

I firmly believe that just about anyone can do just about anything if they set their mind to it. But when is the last time you have yourself permission to not do something just because you were capable of it?

I was recently watching an online summit series with Susanna Barkataki called Honor {Don’t Appropriate} Yoga. In one of her interviews and the expert, Michelle Johnson, mentioned something that really stuck in my mind. She said being overworked and the cult of competitive busyness is a (negative) product of white culture. 

I immediately paused the video to stop and think. I’d truly never looked at the cult of busyness that way, but could immediately see it.

I don’t even know how many times I’ve been rushing around and complained to my husband that he was moving too slowly or just straight out not doing anything “productive.” 

I’ve seen my sister and her husband in similar situations, too. My sister and I are both white. My husband and brother-in-law are not.

My mom is, no joke, frequently away from home 10-12 hours a day because she crams her schedule so full. When she is home, she’s busy tending to a small zoo of animals, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, cooking, gardening, and who knows what else.

What if the women in my family, myself included, could be a bit more like my husband and brother-in-law?

What if we could all take a step back from the constant hustle, never-ending to do lists, and the feeling that we have to shoehorn some activity into every waking minute of our lives?

This week, I challenge you to take a step back from the cult of busyness. 

I’ve been working on it for the past few days and it’s been amazing! 

Here are some tips to help you be less busy all the time:

Stop multi-tasking all the time, especially while you’re at home. Stop scrolling social media while eating or watching Netflix. Stop checking your email while brushing your teeth. Focus on one thing at a time and give it your full attention.

I’ve been on a social media detox for the past week – no Instagram or Facebook for me! It’s freed up so much time and made me much more present with my family.

Say no. No is not a dirty word. Say no to events and activities that stress or deplete you. Don’t attend something because you think you “should.” It’s okay to say no!

Start a gratitude practice. I had to work gratitude in here somewhere! I am a huge believer in the power of gratitude. It’s helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. A gratitude practice is the perfect time to practice mindfulness, too, and it can help you see what truly matters. If you’re feeling too busy to start a gratitude practice, these tips on how to practice gratitude as a busy mom can help.

Forgive yourself. Sometimes you’ll end up more busy than you’d like. Sometimes you won’t be able to say no to things you don’t want to do. That’s okay – don’t beat yourself up about it! Try to see obstacles or slip ups as opportunities to learn and grow.

Practice emotional/spiritual/psychological self-care. Our consumerist culture has taught us that self-care means pedicures, spa days, and shopping sprees. These things could be self-care, but simple, free things are important, too (even more important, in my opinion).Start simply by relaxing your shoulders down away from your ears and then take three, deep, slow breaths. Notice now much better you feel!

Give yourself permission to relax. So many of us are caught up in feeling like we “should” be doing things all the time that we feel guilty when we don’t! We actually feel bad about “only” doing one thing at a time. How crazy is that?

Something I’ve been doing lately to help myself wind down is using more magnesium. I spritz my feet with homemade magnesium oil at night and I made some awesome magnesium body butter. It’s also great for easing sore muscles!

Find a way to hold yourself accountable. Find an accountability buddy who can lovingly “call you in” whenever you’re getting too busy and stressed. You can also use a habit tracker printable to visually track your progress. Fill in days when you say no to something that depletes you or days when you make at least 10 minutes of “me time.”

I truly hope these tips for how to slow down help you as much as they’ve helped me.

If you advice about slowing down to share, please comment and share your thoughts! I’d love to know what you’re thinking.

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