2/26/15

Stop being so busy


If something is important to you, you'll make time for it.
You'll find a way, not an excuse and you'll make progress because something is better than nothing. 

You are an expert at being busy! 

So, if you are passionate about something or it makes you feel good, is feeling busy all the time, really the way that you want to live your life?

Athletes are fantastic at staying busy. We know how to put a lot on our daily to-do list but it seems like sometimes we can never get everything done. Like we are always playing catch-up but we can't stop being so busy. 

One of the hardest situations for an athlete to be in is to feel like you are always behind - behind on workouts, behind in life, behind on healthy eating, behind at work, behind on family obligations, behind on chores. It's very hard to make time for everything that is important to you and because of that, it would be to your benefit to stop being so busy. 

For many people, it can feel normal to feel busy all the time. If work duties are done on time, then your time at home is spent doing laundry, cleaning and paying bills. Once you get everything done at home, you feel like you have slacked on your workouts. And then on top of it all, you feel like you should be spending more time with friends and family because work and training has been super busy.

One word I don't like to use (nor my athletes) is the word sacrifices. Sacrifices do not get us ahead in life so stop saying you are making sacrifices. For us athletes, sacrifices can often make us feel guilty and we end up carrying around guilt. Rather than feeling like you are making a sacrifice, consider the investments you are making instead. 

Think about the last time you trained. What was on your mind? Your upcoming race in 6 months, your cadence or stride or stroke, your breathing or form....or the bills you need to pay, the errands you need to run, the dishes you forgot to put away, the laundry you still need to fold?

There are a limited number of hours in each day so if you invest your time wisely, you can increase productivity. You'll never get the most out of a workout if your mind is somewhere else and if you are too busy to make the time to eat healthy, you are just not fueling your body properly for your workout routine. If you aren't getting rested sleep, you will struggle to stay energized throughout the day.

With everything that you may be trying to get done, you are likely making a sacrifice somewhere else and this is no way to live life.

So, if you aren't busy does this mean you are lazy or not doing enough? Absolutely not! You just need to make your investments wisely and stop trying to be busy all the time.

Yes - you can stop being so busy!

The problem with staying busy is losing your present moment. Cramming too much into one day is exhausting and you miss out on important things in life that bring happiness and joy.

No matter how much you get accomplished each day or how much you put on your to-do list, it can become emotionally and physically draining to be so busy. You may say to yourself that there is no other way you can live without being so busy because you just have so much to do, but the most important take-away is asking yourself if you are making things happen and making time for yourself and others, or constantly feeling like you can never slow down or catch-up. 

Here are a few tips to be okay with with not being so busy:

-If you are an athlete, you likely have the trait that you will find a way to get it all done - no matter what. So next time you have a free 10-15 minutes in your day, enjoy doing nothing. You can still be super productive in life without filling in every second, of every day, with something to-do. Savor free time for yourself or with loved ones, every day. 

-Just relax. Enjoy an intentional skipped workout every now and then. Rather than cleaning your house, take an hour and prepare a home-cooked meal with your spouse, close friend/family or child. Don't bring your computer in your bed at night to answer emails, pay bills, book tickets or write on your blog, enjoy your free time wisely and if free time comes into your life, see it as rest time because you likely don't rest enough. 

-It's almost impossible for most people to turn off the work mode button (especially if you work from home). Our career/job is a big part of our lives (it pays the bills and pays for race fees) but what part of your job keeps you so busy? Is it the hours worked or could it also be the stress associated with work and the stress that comes home with you? It's very easy to feel unbalanced in life because of job-related stress or expectations. Figure out the best work-life balance so that you are not so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. 

-If you are willing to make the necessary investments to improve your performance as an athlete, you need to simplify your commitments. As hard working individuals/athletes, it's easy to take on too many responsibilities. Declutter your life so that you can truly enjoy the things in life that are truly important to you. This doesn't only include tasks and meetings but also TV, social media and anything else in life that is not a necessity. And if something in life helps improve your efficiency or helps you stay on the right track, consider it an investment to your time even if it costs you money.

-Schedule some time for yourself. Get inside your thoughts and what you really want in life. If there are negative people in your life draining your energy and robbing you of your happiness and joy, remove the negative energy from your life right now. 

-Books, magazines, TVs, newspapers, podcasts. Wow - there is a serious issue of information overload these days. If we aren't learning something new, we are trying to confirm what we already know. It takes a lot of time and energy to be in the know of everything so only spend time on what is relevant to you. If the information truly makes you a better, healthier and happier person, this should be your only source of information. 

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Manage your time wisely, make investments not sacrifices and slow down and stop adding so much to your already busy life.