‘So much to do, so little time,’ used to be my motto not so long ago. I was in a constant state of being rushed off my feet, days crammed with too much to do and never enough time to get it all done. My to-do lists were pages long, each day’s unfinished items just rolling into the next with no end in sight. Yes, I was busy all the time, working hard, but yet had little to show for my efforts.
The Busyness Syndrome (when being overwhelmed becomes normal)
- Are you always in a hurry?
- Do you feel like you’re always playing catch up?
- Does your to-do-list for the day always seem to carry over to the next?
- Do you spend a lot of your time thinking about the stuff that you still need to do?
- Are you so exhausted that you can’t even make time for friends, family and downtime?
If any of these sound like you then you’ve probably succumbed to the Busyness Syndrome. Somewhere along the way you accepted that being overwhelmed is just the way it is. You’re caught up in the vicious cycle of constantly doing but to be fair you’re not alone. In today’s world being busy can feel like wearing a badge of honour, it gives you a feeling of importance. As exhausting as it is, deep down inside you’re pleased, It feels good to feel needed right?
But here’s the thing. Despite all your efforts you’re still not making progress towards the things you actually want. You’re too worn out to actually enjoy what’s around you. Your relationships suffer even as you keep striving and you wonder what it’s all for. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate what’s going on. Could the things that seem so important, really be distractions in disguise?
The big mistake you’re making
‘Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.’ Tony Robbins.
On any given day you will have many opportunities to be distracted. Often, those distractions are things you’ve convinced yourself that you have to do. So in an effort to be more productive you try to cram more and more into your limited time. But what if your problem really isn’t time but the things that you’re trying to fit in? What if you’re focused too much on quantity when you should really be focused on quality? What if the real problem is that you’re spending too much of your time on the things that just don’t matter?
The key to making real progress
So how do you get off the hamster wheel of constant motion? How do you start actually making progress on your goals? You have to stop . . . right now!
The first step is to reset your focus. It’s time to remind yourself of the what and the why. What is your big picture? What is your ultimate goal? What, when it comes down to it, is truly important to you? Why is it important to you? Why is it imperative that it happen? Remember, success starts with clarity.
Examine your to-do lists and the things you spend your time on. Are they moving you towards the goals you identified in step 1 or away from them? Are they busy work that keep you ticking but move you no further on? Could it be your way of avoiding the tough work? Use your ‘big picture’ as the filter through which you assess the tasks, opportunities and interactions that you can spend your time on. Choose to do those things that align with your goals and move you towards them, those are the things that truly matter.
You now have clarity on what you want and why. You know what tasks actually are worth spending your time on. You realise that being in motion is not the same as taking action so you invest in what is truly important, those things that will move you forward. Now you can take the right action.
Time is your most precious resource, treat it that way
We all fall into the trap sometimes of doing busy work but not necessarily the important work. Sometimes that’s our way of avoiding making tough decisions or working on challenging tasks. But our time and energy are limited and so precious, even more reason to figure out what is really worth spending it on. Making progress and achieving our goals doesn’t have to remain elusive. We don’t need to wish for 36 hour days or work twice as hard. Sometimes the key to making progress is simply to eliminate the things that don’t matter to make room for the things that do.
Stop spending major time on minor things, and see how your life improves.
Now over to you.
Are you suffering from the Busyness Syndrome?
What is one thing that you can eliminate from your life right now to make room for something that truly matters?
Let me know in the comments.