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  • 5 Tips To Break Free From The Busy Trap

    We live in a society that glorifies busyness. We pride ourselves on hustling and constantly being on the go, filling our schedules to the brim and creating to-do lists that are pages long. Even children are busy! We overschedule ourselves for many reasons – to feel important, as a form of avoidance, due to super ambitious drive, just to name a few.

    Busy has become the new normal and that is not good (and usually not necessary or worth the consequences). The list of consequences of chronic busyness is a lengthy one including burnout, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, being disconnected in our relationships and from ourselves, a lack of fulfillment with life, and compromised physical and emotional health. If you can relate to any of these, if your life is a blur of work and social commitments and you’re ready for change, keep reading.

    So, how do you break free from the busy trap?

    1. Change your mindset.

    Busy is a choice that is often self-imposed. Busy is not inevitable. Often times the pattern of chronic business is the result of inaccurate beliefs such as, “The more I do, the more valuable I am” or “By staying busy, I’ll be more productive” or “Working extra hours and making extra money is a valid reason to neglect my relationships. Nobody else is paying my bills.” These sorts of beliefs are often false and lead to unhealthy behaviors and dire consequences. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on identifying distorted, inaccurate, unhealthy beliefs and then correcting those beliefs.

    2. Eliminate.

    Review your to-do list. I bet there are some things on it that can be eliminated. Do you really need to bake two dozen blueberry muffins for the office party? Yes, yes, everyone loves your muffins (and those compliments feel good), but nobody will love you less and you won’t lose your job if you save that hour and, instead, pick some up from the grocery store.

    3. Delegate.

    Delegate tasks to others who are better at it, enjoy it more, have more time, etc. By lightening your workload, you create more physical and mental energy to complete the items that are true priorities.

    4. Prioritize.

    Be intentional with setting priorities. Not everything has to be done ASAP. Again, review your to-do list and assign each task a number from 0-5 (with 0 being something that can be eliminated or delegated, 1s and 2s can be postponed, and 5s are urgent). Now set to tackling the 5s only. Once those are completed, move on to the 4s and then the 3s and so on.

    5. Alternative actions.

    While I know that your to-do list is already overwhelming, I bet that it’s lacking in activities of self-care. We tend to push those to the side for more “important” tasks. However, by ignoring your well-being, you actually become less productive and less equipped to tackle your to-do list. Schedule and prioritize rest and self-care. Get enough sleep and solitude. Exercise and meditate. Go to therapy to learn to say “no” and set realistic goals for yourself. These types of additions to your to-do list will make you more efficient and effective at tackling other tasks.

    If chronic busyness has become your pattern and you are having difficulties making healthy changes, I highly recommend therapy. Therapy can help you develop insight into why you’ve become “addicted” to and glorify busyness and therapy will help you develop tools to identify and prioritize that which is truly important.

    AUTHOR:  Dr. Beverly J. Pedroche