“Busy isn’t busy, busy is a lack of priorities.” – Chase Jarvis
Lately, I find myself saying “I’m busy” or “things have been so busy”. It’s bullshit. I hate those phrases – they are officially being removed from my vocabulary. The feeling of busyness means we are trying to juggle too many things that don’t matter. We need to sit down and ask ourselves what tasks/responsibilities/commitments align with our priorities. Better yet, we have to ask ourselves “what are our priorities!?”
I find that when I am consistently responding to people with “I’m so busy” then it’s time to get my shit together and start figuring out what doesn’t need to be on my plate or in my life.
Getting control of the workload and busyness of life starts with two things:
- Knowing your priorities
- Knowing when to say NO.
How do we develop and set our priorities? It’s starts by simply slowing down and taking some time to reflect. I find asking myself these questions help me narrow down my priorities:
- What do I value at work and in my personal life? For example; I value the opportunities at work that challenge me and expose me to interactions with new people. In my personal life, one thing I value is my morning workout time.
- What are my goals (personally or professionally) for the next 30 days, 90 days, 6-months and 12-months? If my goal is to run a half-marathon or to finish a work project in six months then those things need to be prioritized over other things.
- What is most important and most urgent? In a long list of to-do’s can you go through and highlight or identify the most important and most urgent items? This will be incredibly helpful in setting your plans for the day/week/month/year.
Once our priorities are clarified the decision making process is much easier. As things come up, you can use your values and goals to steer your response. Knowing how and when to say “no” is a skill. For women, saying “no” can be very challenging for us. It is definitely a struggle for me! We feel guilty and fear not being liked – so what do we do? We say “yes” to everything. Our to-do list and commitments get out of control.
Here are some questions to consider when you are being asked to do something:
- Do you have the time? – Taking on too much at the wrong time can be a disaster. Don’t accept something you won’t have the time to give 100% to, it will only lead to stress and possibly poor performance.
- Are you the right person for this task? – Are you the best person for the job or is there someone else that is more informed and more appropriate to do it?
- Do you have enough information? – Before you just say yes, ask questions and make sure you have all the information about what you are getting yourself into. It’s okay to ask!
- Does this align with your priorities? – Circle back to your priorities list – does this opportunity align with your values and goals?
- Is this helpful and/or beneficial to me? – It’s okay to be a little selfish! We have to accept that we can’t help out or do a favor for everyone. If we are saying yes to help everyone else then we aren’t leaving time for the things that interest us and move us forward.
Need some help figuring how to frame your “no” – check out this post for some tips!
If we truly prioritize responsibilities in our work and life then we won’t feel so “busy”. We will be doing and focusing on the things that matter most. Be okay with that fact that you can’t be everything to everyone.
“You can do anything but not everything.”
This is Chumlee’s way of saying no…photo credit to my hubster, Andrew Turner. Check him out on Flickr!
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