Relinquish your ego

Trying to squeeze too many activities and projects into too few hours can leave us feeling overwhelmed.

Maybe you have been bragging about how busy you are because it somehow makes you feel important or successful. Perhaps you are under some financial or family pressures that outstrip your current resources.

Either way, there is an epidemic of excessive busyness among modern-day adults that leaves us all feeling rushed, discontent, and short of time. Here are a few large and small strategies for using the time you have at your disposal to be more effective.

Big Strategies

1. Turn your cellphone off.

  • Being connected all day long is obviously a major factor in feeling overwhelmed.
  • Switch off your devices at least one hour before you go to bed.
  • Occasionally, try spending a day away from social media.

2. Live mindfully.

  • Engage fully with whatever you are involved in.
  • Focus on a single task at a time. Multitasking is a myth that most people simply cannot live up to.
  • You will reduce your load of stress and enhance the quality of your work.

3. Prioritize.

  • Think about your purpose and devote your time to the activities that matter to you.
  • Using your time wisely helps make our lives feel more meaningful.

4. Set routines and stick to them.

  • Do you spend as much time coordinating your work as actually performing it?
  • A systematic approach turns frequent chores into automatic habits.
  • Do your grocery shopping on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Check your email and return phone calls before you break for lunch and again, after dinner.

5. Collaborate.

  • We can accomplish a great deal more as a team.
  • Focus on your strengths and try to outsource or eliminate the remaining tasks.

6. Rest.

  • Resist the temptation to sacrifice your sleep in order to get more things done.
  • Adequate rest makes us much more effective.
  • If you are having trouble keeping your eyes open, try going to bed an hour earlier than usual.

7. Delete perfection.

  • Let go of your past. It was a lesson, and not a final destination.
  • Proof an email one time and send it.
  • Perfection is time-consuming and grossly overrated.

8. Count up your free time.

  • Discovering more free time is like finding extra money in the pocket of a jacket that has been hanging in your closet for months.
  • Count the hours you have outside of work, commuting, and sleeping.
  • Decide how you will intentionally use them before the external demands of life swallow them up.

Little Strategies

1. Make some real coffee.

  • The coffee break time has been replaced by instant powder packets you pour into boiling water.
  • Sit down and share a real cup of coffee with a friend.

2. Get out of dodge first.

  • If you are spending more time with the nighttime cleaning crew than with your family, see what it feels like to be the first one out the door.
  • Let your colleagues know in advance if it will help smooth your departure.

3. Is your hair on fire?

  • I have no doubt that you have picked up some of the more colorful expressions for being busy- like feeling slammed, or running about as if your hair is on fire.
  • Moderating your language is the first step to dialing down the tension a few notches.

4. Stop competing.

  • Sometimes it sounds like we are trying to top each other when it comes to having a full plate, or one that is even too full.
  • If someone starts talking about their hair being on fire, try sympathizing, changing the subject, and moving on to something more constructive.

5. Stand perfectly still.

  • Action bias is an innate force that makes us feel like we always want to do something, even if we know it will be counterproductive.
  • Give yourself permission to stop and think about all your options.

If you are feeling swamped, it is past time to create a little more balance in your life.

Along with challenges and adventure, make some room for life’s mundane tasks and opportunities for quiet reflection.

I think you will find that a bit less activity can be more fulfilling.

The ultimate grade in life