Prioritising and the Challenge of Busyness

It may appear as a result of the low number of posts over the last few months that busyness has triumphed. I have certainly had a lot on my plate and I guess that in some ways this may be the case. More so however, it is a result of prioritising. If you have a full life, a career, children, leisure interests or a combination of any of these, you will likely have no shortage of things that will use up your time. After going through the process of removing things that don’t add positively to your life, it’s very possible that you may still have far too much to fit in. This is where prioritising can help. The hardest thing for me was accepting that I couldn’t do or have it all right now, and that some things would simply have to wait.

I am committed to living a life less busy, a life where I have time to do the things that nourish me, which is why I started this blog. At first, the excitement of a new project and the creative expression involved in setting it up, were pure joy and became a welcome addition to my leisure time. After a month or so I realised (after it was pointed out to me by one of my children) that I was spending increasing amounts of time staring at a screen, checking messages, social media feeds and reading information online. While some of this was very rewarding, I realised that at least fifty percent of what I was viewing on screens was of no real interest or value to me. I had in fact created more work for myself. As a result, I realised that I needed to sit down and look at how I was spending my time and prioritise what was most important. I had to ask myself the question…..is it more important to talk about doing the things that matter to you, or to actually do them?

And so began my slow withdrawal from screen time. I discovered that Facebook is not conducive to a life less busy, Instagram is highly addictive albeit enjoyable, and that writing good quality blog posts requires significant amounts of time. I decided to take a less is more/quality over quantity approach instead. And is my life less busy now? I’m certainly getting there. I have lists of things that I want to do in my leisure time, and for the most part I am actually doing them. I’ve streamlined our schedule, cut down on extra-curricular activities, and built a lot more ‘space’ into our lives. We had a delightfully relaxing holidays, but term time is still a juggle and as always, life is still a work in progress.

If you find life too busy and you can’t work out what needs to go then here is a quick summary of steps you can take that might help:

  1. Write down a list of all the things you do during a regular week. Include everything from checking social media, reading the news, watching TV, washing, ironing, hobbies and work responsibilities.
  2. Go through with some coloured highlighters or pens and mark things as either essential (no choice/have to do it), high priority (I love doing this activity), medium priority (this is something I like), low priority (not essential, why am I doing this?).
  3. Decide which things can be removed from your schedule (low priority stuff is usually a no-brainer and yet it’s surprising how hard it can be to break bad habits).
  4. Ask yourself if there are things you wish you could be doing, but that are not on your list and consider why this might be the case.
  5. Make a conscious effort to spend time and attention on the things that matter and let go of, or reduce time spent on, the rest.

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“Like the bee, we should make our industry our amusement.”
Oliver Goldsmith

 

Thank you to those people who have followed along despite my lack of regular posts. I am still passionate about creating a life less busy and will continue to share my thoughts along the way as time allows.


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