You’ve heard it from me before: Small changes can help transform your life. For me, I practice making these small changes every day. One small change I’m working on this month is how to be less busy so I can achieve more.
We all start our days pretty much the same: We get up, start the workday off with the best intentions to have the most productive day possible — hopeful that we may complete all that needs to get done. Yet somehow, no matter the day and how we feel, we all have the same automatic response to people’s question of “How are you?”
Let me guess your response. Is it: “Good, busy” or some iteration of that response? I thought so. I know I say this almost every day, even on days when things weren’t that busy. Is it just because we have nothing else to say, or maybe because it feels noble or accepted to be busy? After I became aware of my automatic response, I began to notice that I was making my life busy, even when it didn’t have to be. Small things would pop up, that would suck my time. I noticed I was always busy, rushing from one thing to the other, not always being the most productive with my time, I realized that I was probably manifesting all these events and circumstances in my life that were causing me to have less time for myself. Wanting to stop this behavior and manifesting (as I saw it), I became intentional about how I portrayed my day/life, whether it be during a conversation with a friend or in response to the question “How are you?”
I decided that if I could shift my focus from being “busy” to just “being”, maybe I would experience less stress and achieve more. I am still a work in progress, and although some days are better than others, incorporating the four steps below has helped me create more time to just “be”, and do things I enjoy.
Having taken on this transformation myself, I’m offering some simple practices and tips to bring into your life below.
Change Your Auto Response
The first and most important step is to become aware of how you typically respond when someone asks you “How are you/how’s your day going?” Sometimes we may feel guilty for having a “good” or “wonderful” day, especially if we know others are not sharing our experience. Instead, in order to “fit in” with the misery, we tend to find something negative to say, such as a complaint about how busy we are and there’s too much to do, with too little time.
The more we focus on just how busy we are, and put that out there, the more busy-ness comes back to us. It’s the law of attraction, working its magic like it always does. Make an effort to shift your way of thinking and change your response.
Learn to Say No to Commitments
I will be the first to admit that learning to say no to commitments is very hard to do, especially if you’re a people-pleaser or suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I overbook and over commit all the time. If this sounds like you, become aware of your need to always say “yes” when you don’t really want or have to. Becoming comfortable with the fact that you do not need to attend every group dinner or 3 birthday parties in the same evening will ease your anxiety like no other. Your friends will not forget about you (and if they do, then maybe you shouldn’t be friends with them). Learn to say no.
Write Down Affirmations
I find it helpful to write down affirmations for things I want in my life. This helps me find clarity and focus on what it is I want to change. If you repeat an affirmation often enough, your mind starts to think it is real, and soon your affirmation becomes a belief. Once it becomes a belief, your circumstances start to change to hold true to your affirmation. Affirmations are great for all areas of your life, but here are a few examples of affirmations to help create more time: “I have more than enough time” and “Time is abundant and I can do all the thing I want in my day” and “I am never rushed, and go through my day with ease and grace.”
These are just a few examples, and by no means the only affirmations to use for this subject. Try writing your own affirmations, using words and phrases that resonate best with you.
Visualize Yourself with More Time
Take a few minutes at the end of your day (or anytime, really) and visualize all the things you would do with your extra time. Would you sleep in, go for a walk, call a friend and catch up, read a book, exercise, cook a nice meal, and/or catch up on your favorite TV show? The possibilities are endless. The key to visualizing is, however, to do it regularly and when visualizing to feel the relaxed and happy feelings associated with having the “extra” time to do things that you enjoy, instead of rushing from one thing to the next.
At the end of the day, it’s up to make these small changes. No one else can do it for you. Wishing you all the time in the world!