6 Ways to Kill Busyness
To so many people success is having tons of responsibilities, but to me, it’s being able to come home and turn my phone off and spend uninterrupted time with my husband. And to be honest, I can’t imagine living any other way. I don’t understand busyness. I don’t understand why people feel dignified because their calendar is packed. I don’t get choosing to run from place to place and have constant responsibilities and not taking time to just rest.
I’m into living with margin. And if you feel overwhelmed with commitments and want your time back, here’s how I slow things down in life so there’s more room to enjoy.
1. The Nothing Day
One day a week I make absolutely no plans. I stay home. Sometimes I’m cleaning and writing, and cooking... and other times I just order food in and watch Netflix all day. Most of the time I don’t even respond to texts or calls all day (unless it’s my mom). There’s something about knowing I have a clear day that allows me to breathe, decompress, and relax. I don’t have to get ready for anything and no one is relying on me for anything. It’s great for my mental health. 12/10 would recommend.
2. No Immediate Commitments
When I’m invited or asked to make commitments, I never give an immediate yes. I always say “let me check my calendar and get back to you.”
Before scheduling a meeting, RSVPing to an event, or saying yes to putting something on my calendar, I think about it for a day or so. I find that giving space between being asked to make commitments and actually making them allows me to prioritize and weigh the value of it. And if we’re honest here, I usually say no. I’m not huge on filling up my calendar and never have been. I prefer 0-1 commitment or plans per week.
3. The phrase, “Do you want to go with me?”
Instead of adding plans to my day to spend time with friends, I invite people to join me in things I’m already doing. I ask them to do yoga with me, join my husband and me for dinner (at home), go to church + brunch with me, go grocery shopping with me, etc. We’ve moved away from just including people in our lives. All of a sudden, hanging out with friends means spending extra money and making extra plans when it should just mean having someone in your day to day. I’d rather spend an afternoon with my best friend and her kids while they are making dinner or doing chores, than going out to dinner. I want to be part of my friends lives, not just plan a dinner date once every three months.
4. Canceling Plans
Depending on who you ask, this one is slightly controversial but I’m all about doing what it takes to be comfortable being you, so here it is. If I make plans with someone and I don’t feel up to going, I don’t go. if I need rest, I rest. At this point, I just have friends and family that understand me, and are free to do the same if they need to cancel, too. When I made the decision to stop doing things I didn’t want to do, it felt unnatural because we all have this preconceived notion that other people depend on us or need us to be able to go about their day. And honestly, they don’t. The more I stopped making plans and the more I felt okay saying “let’s get together next time,” the more I realized that people are fine without me. I also realized that other people weren’t near as committed as I thought they were and they were just showing up because they feel the same guilt I did. If I don’t attend an event, everyone will still have fun. We’re so scared of people not needing us around that we neglect to see the beauty in it.
5. Stop Responding
I don’t owe everyone who texts me a response. I screen my calls and if I get a call from someone not saved in my phone, I let them leave a voicemail. If they don’t, I don’t call back. I rarely respond to voicemails either, actually. I don’t put my read receipts on (for anyone other than my husband or mom) and I definitely have more unanswered texts in my phone than answered ones. My closest friends laugh about it because it’s just who I am, and contrary to what you would believe, I still spend just as much time with the people I love and care about.
6. Reach Out
And now we’re finally at the point that makes all of the above tie together... I reach out to my friends and family. I initiate text conversations, I’m the friend that calls just to chat, I ask to get into their lives instead of just trying to add something to their schedule. And you know what? My friends know they can ignore my call or text or invitation to hang out and I’ll totally understand. They’ll get back to me later and we will still be best friends. Friendships can be like waves, sometimes it’s high tide and you see the same friend constantly, and sometimes Its been months since I’ve seen someone I treasure... but we both know we would have each other’s back in an instant. Having that kind of grace for one another is what makes friendships real. Because honestly, having friends that expect more out of you than what you can give is exhausting (read more about toxic friendships here). If you love fiercely, show up when it matters, and know the good and bad of what’s going on with the people close to you, that’s what’s really important.
Slow mornings and days with absolutely nothing planned are my some of my biggest joys. And I guess in some small way, I wish other people found the same joy in just being as I do. Because I’m free to call my parents and pop by to see them frequently. My brother knows if he needs a babysitter for my perfect niece and nephew, that I’m free and it’s always a yes. My little sister knows I’m always available for her and never too busy to watch Twilight and make brownies. My mom knows she’s always welcome to come over. My spontaneous friends know that if they want a last minute beach trip, I’m the girl that’s in.
Because not being busy all the time, really just let’s me love the people in my life best.
And I’d so love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about the points listed? Are you usually busy? Let me know!