Being too busy seems to be the default way of living and working these days. Some people even play the busy card like some kind of badge of honour. But let’s be clear, it isn't. Being too busy all the time comes at a high cost, in many ways and on many different levels. Being over busy could well be costing you the life and results you really want.

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12 ways to be less busy

12 ways to be less busy

Being too busy seems to be the default way of living and working these days.

Some people even play the busy card like some kind of badge of honour. But let’s be clear, it isn’t. Being too busy all the time comes at a high cost, in many ways and on many different levels.

Being over busy could well be costing you the life and results you really want. That is because it wreaks havoc on so many things.

Here are just a few examples of the damage being too busy creates:

  • You don’t have time to work on creating the life and results you really want.
  • You are less effective and productive.
  • You feel drained, overwhelmed and stressed.
  • Your relationships suffer.
  • Your health suffers, along with your quality of life.

These are just a few examples. The list could go on and on of the damage being too busy has on the life and results you really want.

So if you would like to be less busy, here are some things to think about:

12 ways to be less busy

1. Start seeing being busy as a choice. Because it is.

You were not born busy. Being constantly busy is social conditioning gone mad. Opt out. Choose change. Commit to increasing your awareness on why you are so busy. What is the real source? Commit to finding ways of dealing with that.

2. Embrace pacing. It is the antidote to busyness.

Visualise a pace of life you really want. Take action to start creating that as your new reality. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Enough said!

3. Stop multitasking. Embrace single tasking.

Not only will this help you to feel less busy, it will improve your effectiveness, productivity and quality of the task you are doing at that time. Not to mention reducing feelings of stress and overwhelm.

4. Start saying no more.

When you start to say no more to things that don’t matter, or don’t really add any value to the life and results you really want, you are saying yes to being less busy and what is more important. Stop taking on too much.

5. Stop giving everything the same level of priority and importance.

Get clear on what is most important. Prioritise those. Let go of commitments, activities and habits that create busyness and get in the way of the important stuff.

6. Get a grip of your email habits.

Imagine your inbox is like your house. You wouldn’t put up with any old Tom, Dick or Harry barging into your house demanding your immediate time and attention at all times of the day and night. Don’t let that happen in your inbox either. It contributes to the busyness trap.

7. Stop being contactable and immediately available to everyone 24/7.

Constant interruptions and distractions to your day and schedule plays havoc with your effectiveness, productivity and results. It distracts you from what is most important, sucks your time and adds pressure to your schedule. It inceases feelings of busyness.

8. Have a plan. Work the plan.

When you have a plan that prioritises what is most important and you schedule that plan in your diary, it helps you to protect what is most important and reduces your chances of being sucked into unnecessary busyness.

9. Build in contingency times.

Things often take longer than we think they well. So build in contingency time to allow for that.

10. Schedule down time, rests and breaks.

It might feel counter intuitive when you feel constantly busy, but down time, rests and breaks actually improve your effectiveness and productivity. It is also essential for your health, wellbeing and reducing stress. Sometimes the best way forward is to take a step back!

11. Set, implement and maintain strong personal boundaries.

This is a great way to reduce and manage busyness, and to protect what matters most. What boundaries could you set that would help you be less busy?

12. Eradicate the word busy from your vocabulary.

Stop telling yourself, and anyone else that will listen, how busy you are. Put your focus where it is better served – creating a new reality for yourself. Focus on living and working at a pace that supports the life and results you really want, and protects your health and wellbeing at the same time.

Which of these things would you benefit from taking action on? Are there any more you would add to the list? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.

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  • Glenda Harrison

    I believe most who wear the badge of busyness are most likely trying to avoid life situations.

  • Glenda, that certainly can be a contributing factor.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    These are great tips. I will start trying to incorporate them into my life after I meet the deadline for three articles that are due!!

  • Lois, delighted you found them useful.

  • This post is so intuitive to what I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve only recently discovered that I keep myself continually busy to keep from thinking or feeling. Then I wonder why I get so overwhelmed. I need to take these tips on the wall right in front of me!

  • Rena, that is great that you have that self awareness. Awareness is the first step in creating change. So glad you found the article useful. Have fun clearing your path of busyness. It is well worth the effort. The benefits are many.

  • carla birnberg

    Everything has shifted for me since I’ve decided: I am not busy in the slightest.
    I just woke up one morning and made that decision even though absolutely nothing else changed in my life. Now, instead of saying I’m too busy, I shifted to stating: it just isn’t a priority right now

  • Carla, wonderful that you made that decision for yourself and are now reaping the many benefits.