3 Steps to Manage Busyness

Busyness, it seems, has become the catch-phrase of home and family responsibilities and climbing the corporate ladder. Even in pursuing our dreams busyness abounds. We are busy making decisions, busy taking action, busy combating challenges and busy keeping the dream alive. However, if we allow busyness to overwhelm us, our quality of life diminishes.

Consider the three steps outlined below to help you deal with your busyness.

1.     Specify your busyness.

Don’t just say that you’re busy. Instead, say that you’re busy at home with the children or with a sick child. Say you’re busy with a major home renovation. Say you’re busy planning a birthday party or an anniversary celebration for your parents. Say you’re busy hosting guests for an upcoming family reunion. Say you’re busy at the office with employee reviews, training sessions, back-to-back meetings, client follow-ups, stock-taking, working out the legal fine points of a business partnership. Say you’re busy training for an upcoming sporting event or working on a special project or two for your favourite hobby. Say that you’re busy doing research for a paper you have to submit on deadline. Specifying your particular area(s) of busyness makes it easier to identify the other areas where you can compensate with some free time and relief.


2.     Classify your busyness.

Daily: As burdensome as they can be, daily responsibilities and activities add a certain kind of energy and purpose to your life. You may only notice and appreciate this if you approach them from the perspective of their importance to the overall well-being and the sense of accomplishment they deliver. A further thought to consider is that some daily responsibilities are temporary, which should ease the tension in handling them.

Seasonal: Unless you plan meticulously, seasonal busyness creeps up on you, overwhelms you with its urgency and sends you scurrying in a breathless frenzy. The balancing factor is that it is short-lived.

One-off: This class of busyness can bring on a full frontal blast of overwhelm and even fear. Being able to think on your feet and take decisive action can ward off a speedy decent into depression.


3.     Control your busyness.

If you get bogged down with the details of your busyness, overwhelm can set in and cloud your judgement, screw up your perspective, muddle solutions and complicate the process to manage it. In order to control your busyness:

Reset your priorities. You might be busy with an unexpected challenge or a normal life issue but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a priority item in the scheme of your life plans. By resetting your priorities, you get a clearer perspective of what is keeping you busy, which could reveal a more efficient way to control it to allow time, space and resources to attend to what’s important to you.

Say no. A crucial part of controlling busyness is knowing when and how to say “No”. A firm but gracious “No” starves off overwhelm and protects what matters.
Give up perfectionism. Nobody is perfect and often, it is in your imperfections that you discover innovative ways to help you deal with your busyness.

Release control. When the stuff on your plate is piled high and overflowing, delegate some tasks to trustworthy and capable people.                                               

Managing busyness is not a one-time cure-all. Instead, it is a series of steps you return to when necessary, to to control the multitude of tasks on your to-do list and to keep additional responsibilities at bay. 
Are you living with a mountain of busyness? Are you drowning in overwhelm? Use these steps to help you manage your busyness.  

(Published in the Wright Words of Wisdom column in Womanwise Magazine on Sunday 24th March 2013)

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