Amy Clark

I Am Busy, But Why?

I cracked open this book and was prepared to learn how to manage my time better. In my head, I had envisioned all of the ways that I could manage my day in a more effective way. For example, I could get up by four in the morning, like other bloggers I read, and start my day off with a brisk bit of exercise, breakfast, and some really hard work before my children get up. Then I could reserve their naps for time to catch up on the house, laundry, and bills. Then I could spend the afternoon cooking and catering to everyone’s needs. And then I could collapse into utter oblivion…because I don’t know how people get up at four in the morning. Or five in the morning. Heck, six sounds too early to me. We can see the beginnings of why I don’t manage my time well. I am a late riser and I require oodles of sleep. Sleep has trumped a lot of things in my life and I just can’t picture me being a real go-getter in the morning.

As I begin to read though, one of the first things the book said was that it “was not a book on time-management, it was a book on not being busy.” Did you feel a chill in the air like I did? What? Not be BUSY? But this is my life. No, I want a book that is going to teach me that busyness is good and perfectly acceptable, but that I just need to manage my busyness more effectively.

That is when I realized how deeply rooted my problem had become. The author says, “I valued achievement more highly than joy, which led to speeding toward the finish line of every project, goal, or task without regard for the gift the journey. I had bought into the belief that taking on more work, projects, or activities validated my worth, abilities, and potential. Certainly there is nothing wrong with being industrious, but beware when busyness becomes a self-esteem substitute.”

Yes, I am admitting that feeling busy makes me feel important and I get a high from it. It feels good to be validated by others and to offer my opinions and insights. I think that this really started when I became an at-home mom and it felt good to hear that other grown-ups respected what I had to say and that I had a valuable opinion. Being pooped on and peed on certainly wasn’t making me feel good, but if I had a full calendar…well, I was popular! If my schedule was jam-packed, this proved that I had friends, and lots of them!

But could I possibly build any meaningful friendships if I am only able to pencil my friends in once a month? Did anyone ever get all of me if all I was thinking about was the next engagement or the next thing I had to do? I am realizing how bad this really is.

The author suggests making a new declaration that you can work towards while working through her book.

Declaration of My Personal Lifestyle
1. I only engage in activities that reflect what really matters to me.
2. I take all of my vacation time every year.
3. I make a heart-to-heart connection every day with someone I care about.
4. I honor my body’s need for rest.
5. I have fun at least once a week.
6. I eat at regular intervals and at a slow pace.
7. I find enjoyable ways to exercise at least three times per week.
8. I do not allow technology to consume my time, but use it to maximize my time.
9. I say no to activities that do not pass my “personal priority test.”
10. I listen to my inner voice when making decisions.

Just looking at this list, I can tell you exactly what is going to be a problem for me. #1,6,7,8,9, & 10. I don’t eat like I should, I don’t exercise regularly, I can’t say no, my computer is a major time sucker, and I rethink my inner voice all of the time to please others.

What things on this list would be hard for you? Where do you struggle when it comes to busyness? Here’s a tough one…does busyness boost your self-esteem? (You can sign in anonymously as always!)

Published April 09, 2008 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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