Busy: When is it a good thing?
I feel like my message here is pretty clear. Boycott busy, say no more often, and declutter your crap. In a nutshell.
But life is not really a nutshell. And neither is it black and white.
There are times when busy is just how it has to be. Or when no isn’t possible. Or when your clutter represents wounds that aren’t ready to be healed yet.
Whilst simple and slow, are my preferred way of life, they are still a hard-fought luxury. If I had to put a number on it (and I will because I have a thing for numbers), I’d say only 35-40 of my life is simple and slow.
The rest of it? Full. Perhaps not overflowing as much as it used to be. But the occasional ball still gets dropped.
Why so busy?
I’ve spent a good portion of the past few weeks being very productive. I’ve made my goals for the year and roadmapped them. I’ve made some impossible goals for this year and even one for in 10 years time.
I dug my 20,000 words out of it’s dusty corner in my laptop and started adding to them again.
I’ve ushered the household back into the school year and work routine – fairly successfully so far.
And it’s been busy. Yes, I hate the word, but let’s not beat around the bush too much. I could thesaurus the crap out of it and it would still mean the same thing – busy.
But it’s also been good. After burnout struck 7 years ago, I never thought I’d associate busy with feeling good again. But here we are.
It didn’t take me too long to figure it out.
I am doing what I love. Creating things. Writing. And connecting with people. My days are full but so is my heart.
The things I do now don’t make me huge amounts of money but they make me huge amounts of happy. They align with my values and my purpose.
The ebb and flow of creativity and busyness
So once I figured out why I was busy-ish again, and understood that it was different to before, I began to think about boundaries or rhythms that would support me through the busy season I am living.
I’m becoming a big fan of seasonal living. My friend Krista over at A Life in Progress talks alot about seasonal living.
Choosing to live seasonally is also the choice to live mindfully – awake to how our energy and moods shift throughout the day, the month, the year. How we experience changes in creativity and productivity, how there are days or months or seasons of life that feel harder or easier for us.
And it makes complete sense to me.
Our family has entered a new season with my youngest daughter starting school a few weeks ago. While it doesn’t necessarily mean I have a whole heap extra time up my sleeve, it does feel very different.
I turned 40 last year and feel very strongly that this is a fresh new (and very exciting) chapter of my life. One unencumbered with things like perfection and giving what people think of me. I’m me, and I really like me.
I’m at my most creative and energtic at certain times of my mentrusal cycle, and – you heard it here first – the moon cycle. My creative energy is literally ‘on tap’ for about 7-10 days of the month!
Embracing busy sometimes
So I’m wondering what would happen if I worked more with these seasons, or times when I’m feeling my creative energy flow.
Instead of pushing back against the busyness that comes with such strong creative vibes, what if I choose to embrace it and then rest after.
I could opt for balance in everyday, ensuring that each 24 hours has the right balance of sleep, work, family time, and everything else. But I get the feeling that nothing extraordinary would get done if I did this.
If I wanted an unbusy, balanced day everyday I wouldn’t get to do the long bike rides I love. We wouldn’t go out for spontanteous icecream treats. And I certainly wouldn’t get a book written.
Sometimes we have to go fast to go slow.
Sure, slow is great. But slow doesn’t always get us where we need to go. Sometimes circumstances mean we will find ourselves in the fast lane for awhile.
This is not your permission slip to change lanes indefinitley though. Find your ebb and flow. Rest before you break.
Three tips for doing busy better
- Keep track of your energy levels. Map them for 12 weeks and see what patterns you find. Are there days of the month where you are more productive and energetic? Make some changes to your routines that will capitalize on these energy peaks.
- Regularly check in with your ‘why’. If what’s keeping you busy doesn’t align with your values and purpose in life then you might need to reconsider.
- Always try and be gentle and kind to yourself. This doesn’t always mean fitting in long hot baths or pedicures. Maybe it means giving yourself a 10 minute sleep in. Or a saying no to the 4th weekend activity. Kindness and gentleness are often found in the most unassuming things.
If any of this resonates with you, feel free to comment below!
Happy week everyone