We all know what “Keeping up with the Jones’s” means. I think we still live in a very real world of comparison and envy. But, more recently I have noticed it has become more of “Keeping up with the Busies”.
So, who are the Busies? We are. We all are. We are busy with our homes, busy with our children, busy with our extracurricular activities, work, church groups, second job, etc.
The problem I am running into is this: It seem like we are giving out candy bars to the busiest people. For some reason, if you are very, very busy, we start believing that means you are “more important” or “more valuable” to society.
I sat at the bus stop recently waiting for my little ones and instead of having a nice chat with the others surrounding me, everyone was “busy” on the cell phones: texting, checking Facebook, pinning, responding to emails…
When did busyness become a competition?
When did being busy become so lonely?
I too have gotten caught up in the “busy”. I often am selfish with my time, and hurry home from events because I “don’t have time” to socialize. You know, a simple Hello takes too long nowadays.
You see. I have done a lot of thinking, and have concluded that being busy doesn’t make you important…
…it makes you tired.
We all have the same amount of time during the day. We all have lists of things to do, goals to accomplish and bills to pay. We are all busy.
So, instead of a competition, how about we agree that we are all busy and be respectful of one another.
Here are a few tips so we can stop the “Keeping Up with the Busies”:
1. Remember that being busy doesn’t always mean being productive.
There are a lot of people running around being busy and not really accomplishing a lot that is truly important. I know because I have done it. I have been that chicken running around with her head cut off. Several months ago, as I was preparing for several events that were occurring at the same time, this hit me. I was running from work to Walmart, girls in tow. I had my list and kept repeating what I needed to get done. I was in a hurry as I had several other things to do that day. I ran into an old friend, and as we were talking I suddenly got sick…dizzy sick.
I was certain I was going to pass out. I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. I had created so much stress that my body suddenly said, “Stop.” Right there in Walmart. There was nothing I could do but sit down on those yucky Walmart benches and take deep breaths until I could get enough energy to make it back to my car.
We must choose what to do with our time: choose wisely.
2. Set your priorities and spend the majority of your time there.
Setting priorities is something that takes conscious effort. It must be done intentionally. Decide what is important. Most of us would say family, friends, church, work, etc.
But, is that where we are spending our time?
I love to blog, and it has certainly helped me express myself and feel like I am part of something bigger than myself, but blogging carries with it a consuming effect. If I allow it, I could spend too much time blogging, writing, creating, and not enough time reading, playing, and interacting with my family. If kept in balance, blogging for me is healthy and positive, but it must be done in wisdom and order.
There are many, many things in this world that have that same consuming effect. TV, entertainment, social media, extracurricular activities, even church callings or work.
I believe we can all ask ourselves honestly:
What is consuming my time that is not wholly beneficial or productive?
Are these things taking away from the things that are most important to me?
Once you see it, set some boundaries. Reboot.
And, you may find that you need to eliminate some things. Let them go.
3. Stop comparing yourself to Mr. and Mrs. Busy. Be yourself.
Some people have more energy that I do. They have more ability to stay up all night and awake early in the morning and still function. That’s o.k. I respect that. It is not what I can do. If I don’t get enough sleep, I will not function as well. I can push through for maybe a day or two, but that is it.
Know yourself. Know your abilities and your strengths.
Know your limitations.
Don’t sell yourself short. We are all capable of great things, but we must do them one minute, one hour, and one day at a time. It cannot be done all at once.
Choose to do what you can and find satisfaction in that. Some days it may be grand and other days it may be a slower pace. But, don’t compare yourself to so-and-so. It is not a competition.
4. Remind yourself that human relationships are more important.
Sometimes in the midst of all the busyness, we forget about the importance of human relationships. We forget about the healing power of touch. We forget about the renewing power of service. We lose sight of how we are revitalized by connection.
We forget about empathy.
I was reminded this recently. My little one has learned that mom has a lot of things to do. But, she also knows herself. I have heard this recently.
“I need some mommy time.”
Occasionally, I think “I need some mommy time too…” but after a deep breath and a reevaluation of priorities, I realize: this is what is important. She is important.
In the whole scheme of things, relationships are more important.
If I cannot stay connected to that, then I have truly lost.
5. Do not run faster than you have strength.
We must always remember that there is only so much we can take on. We are not bionic or immortal. We are human. This definition includes being fallible, imperfect, and limited at times. Do not take on more than you can handle.
Take care of yourself.
And, when you find that the busyness is running your life instead of vice-versa, maybe it is time to reevaluate.
6. Allow others to succeed. Rejoice in their successes.
There is something in our human nature that is competitive. We start to feel small when another succeeds. That small voice inside of us begins to doubt ourselves.
I am not good enough.
How come I didn’t get noticed?
Why did they ask her?
Why didn’t they ask me?
I am just as talented. Or am I?
The truth is that it takes a high level of humanity to truly honor and rejoice when another succeeds. It is a gift — to them and to you. Allow yourself the opportunity to celebrate another’s success.
Give yourself a gift today. Let someone else shine.
Remember, we live in a world where we need as much goodness as we can get. Another’s capacity for goodness does not take away from your own. We can all be successful if we allow it. There is no glass ceiling for goodwill.
So, how do you manage your busyness?
Are you in the business of being busy?
Are there some things you need to cut out?
Share with me your tips for managing being busy. I would love to hear them.
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