Do you feel like your life is rushing by?
Do you feel like every minute of your day is filled with something to keep you busy, like work, exercise/training, family, commuting, emails, phone calls, bills, social events and maybe some cooking/eating and sleeping?
As an athlete, there's a good chance that you excel in managing a lot, every single day. You also may also have the tendency to say "yes" a lot, feeling like you can do it all, while saying no makes you feel inadequate. You may notice that if you have free time, you feel uncomfortable, insecure, unproductive, anxious and maybe even worried.
I've been working on the concept of busyness for several years. Not to be more busy but to become less busy. Yes, having more free time. I love staying busy and I thrive off a packed to-do list but I have learned over the years, that life was rushing by me way too fast and I felt like I was not able to really enjoy it. While I will never lose my work ethic (especially as a small business owner) and I know I have a lot to get done every day, I have learned how to say no more often, manage my time better, put myself first at times and to not overbook myself with responsibilities.
Certainly, this did not happen over night and it was very uncomfortable to change my normal thinking and ways of going about life.
My dad passed away from cancer in May 2014. I was very close to him. We talked every day on the phone. He was very proud of me for all my educational, work and athletic accomplishments and he did an excellent job of bragging about me to his patients.
Of course, to succeed with my past accomplishments, I had to devote myself to what I was doing, with high motivation and a high achiever attitude. But at the same time, my dad always encouraged me to not work "too much."
Not only was my dad always happy but he was extremely successful as the chief optometrist of a VA clinic (formally at a VA hospital for over 20 years). He just loved his job and he loved working. He had so many responsibilities at work and he hated to miss work, but he never seemed to be "too busy."
My dad had a lot of hobbies - he loved old cars, old movies, listening to the radio, fixing things, electronics, stamp collecting, taking care of the lawn, coin collecting, astronomy and jogging. Despite being so successful at his job and having a family to raise and take care of, he was never "too busy" to enjoy things that he loved to do.
Although my dad loved working, he passed away just two years away from his retirement, so he never really got to enjoy "the good life" as a retired adult.
However, in my eyes, my dad had the good life.
He never ever took a day for granted.
He was never ever "too busy" to enjoy life.
It's interesting that I married a European because I feel like my dad was always telling me to "work to live, don't live to work" which is a similar strategy of the European lifestyle.
Of course, Karel didn't have this lifestyle when he came to America as when he pursued the "American Dream", he was simply an immigrant working 2-3 jobs a day, just to survive in the USA.
I learned a lot from my dad but I have also learned a lot from Karel.
If you feel like there is always something to do, always overwhelmed and never enough time to do everything, take some time and begin to simplify your life. I encourage you not to put yourself second but instead, to think about your happiness and how it improves your overall quality of life.
In order to reduce the busyness in your life, it is important to stop the equation of:
busy = happy= successful.
You can be happy and not be busy and you can be busy and not be successful.
And you can be busy, not happy and successful.
My equation looks a little something like this:
Productive = fulfilled.
Prioritize your life so that the most important things in your life are on the top of your to-do list. Be sure not to overload your to-do list with extra stuff. Manage your time wisely, be productive with your time, learn to say no and don't feel the need to fill in every free minute of the day.
And above all, never ever neglect your own health.