So many of us wear our busy-ness like a badge of honour.
“Ugh,” we sigh. “I’m just so busy. I’m so tired. I never feel like I’m finished and there’s no time for things I enjoy and I never have down-time and everyone always wants something from me.”
This is code for:
“I am important. You should be impressed.”
And you know what? You are important. But not because you’re constantly busy and tired and over-committed.
What I find impressive is someone who’s intentional in how they spend their time. Someone who doesn’t say yes to everything and complain about being busy. Someone who says no, even if they’re saying no to me. I find that impressive.
Impressive in the sense that it makes an impression on me.
“Huh,” I say, as though it’s a new idea that people can say no.
Maybe they don’t have time, or maybe they don’t want to, but when they say no it feels more honest and authentic and intentional than saying yes to everything and then bitching about how busy they are, or saying yes and doing a half-arsed job.
Part of the reason we are overwhelmed with life but find it difficult to change is because those changes are uncomfortable.
It’s uncomfortable to sort through your cluttered home and let go of the excess.
It’s uncomfortable to decide which sentimental items are no longer serving you, and it’s uncomfortable letting them go.
It’s uncomfortable to revisit your priorities and realise that the way you’re living is not in keeping with the life you want to look back on.
It’s uncomfortable saying no.
Uncomfortable doesn’t mean undesirable though.
Having a clutter-free home is worth it. Not feeling the weight of those heavy sentimental items is worth it. Readjusting your life to fit with your priorities is worth it. And saying no? Absolutely worth it.
Please don’t mistake what I’m saying.
You can be both busy and intentional. Being busy isn’t really the problem. I personally like being busy – to a point. I also really like down-time and the fact that this weekend I spent two hours in the hammock reading comics.
But how do we say no?
Start by understanding what you want from your life. Knowing your Why helps you say no and keep your priorities front and centre when there are tough decisions to be made.
Then commit to living by your Why. Ask yourself whether this commitment, this responsibility, this event, this piece of furniture or item of clothing is going to help you live according to your Why, or if it is going to take you further away.
Don’t put your self-worth in busy-ness. Don’t fall for the myth that constant action equals importance. Don’t buy into the endless game of busy-ness and martydom because no-one wins.
Instead choose to live your life with intention and make an impression on yourself.