People love to use the “B” word. No, not that controversial one sometimes heard in hip-hop lyrics; we’re talking about “busy,” as in, “I’m so busy!” — a standard response whenever American are asked how they’re doing. As Rikki Rogers writes in a great Daily Muse post titled “4 Ways to Break Free From Being Busy,” this feeling of being constantly overwhelmed “can have damaging effects on our mental well-being,” and that’s why it’s crucial to fight back and reduce the stress. Read on for a summary of Rogers’ advice for skirting burnout and feeling less swamped.
1. Shut Up About It! — If you’re always talking about how busy you are, Rogers writes, you’ll feel really busy. Stop all the complaining and rephrase statements like, “I’m so busy at work!” to emphasize your accomplishments. Are you swamped because of a promotion that has you traveling a bunch? “Avoiding the compulsion to constantly insist that you’re busy will actually make you feel less busy,” Rogers writes.
2. Enough With the Multi-Tasking — Thanks to smartphones, it’s easy to check email whenever and wherever you’d like, and that’s not necessarily for the best. Set aside “leisure time” where you’re not reading emails, watching webinars, planning for your week, or doing anything else that might distract you from simply enjoying some downtime.
3. Redefine Self-Care — When you do take time for yourself, Rogers suggests, stop thinking about it simply in terms of improving your physical well-being. Manicures are nice and all, and so are massages and trips to the gym, but doing things like reading and writing can be just as beneficial. “If we make room in our lives for this broader definition of self-care and accept that it is not a distraction from but a contributor to our success, we’ll be one step closer to escaping the busy vortex,” Rogers writes.
4. Take Stuff Off Your Plate — Sometimes you feel really busy because you actually are really busy. If that’s the case, delegate. Recycling some great advice she once got from Entrepreneur columnist Sumi Krishnan, Rogers suggests taking a few minutes at the end of each day and writing down two things you did that someone else could have helped you with. Then, delegate those jobs the following day. As Rogers says, “this simple habit will help you measure your delegating skills each and every day.”