Lately I have noticed the busy feeling creeping back into my life. It is a feeling of helplessness. I define busyness as a reactionary state which does not allow for creative control of your life. Busyness and productivity are not mutually exclusive. You can be productive and busy, or you can be productive and in control.
When I feel that busyness creeping in, I can almost always trace it back to a decision I recently made to break a few of my own key rules. I’ve developed these personal rules in an attempt to control busyness from overtaking my life.
Group your tasks.
When I have repetitive tasks that come at irregular intervals I make every attempt to make a note of them and complete them together at a set time. Instead of submitting paperwork every time I request comes in, I make a list of my paperwork tasks and I complete all that paperwork in one sitting on Tuesday mornings. This helps me to feel that I’m not constantly submitting these little forms, but instead I can control when I complete those tasks.
Control your workload.
I have a job, specifically an 8-5 with occasional after-hours work requirements. Without a career change I cannot directly control this. While I can talk to my manager if I feel overwhelmed, I rarely find that to be necessary. However I am human and I am singular. We have to be aware of our entire workload, not just what comes in from 8-5. Too many side projects or external obligations can lead to a loss of control over your schedule.
Turn off the notifications.
Turning off my Outlook notifications was probably the single best thing I’ve done for my career. When I set out working on a task I can focus fully on that task until it is complete. The emails can be addresses as soon as I’m done, and if it were important enough they would call. If you keep a phone next to you during work, this should definitely extend to your social media notifications. Or you could just quit social media all together.
Sometimes busyness is just a feeling that can be overcome. When you have a crazy day at work it can help to just unwind. Rock out on the drive home, listen to a podcast, take a walk outside, read a book, write in a journal. By doing something that you choose, you are exerting some control over your schedule and this can change your outlook on an entire day.
I can tell that my recent busyness has come about by failing to control my workload. Too many home projects has led to what feels like a never ending work cycle. I will be making changes to block off down time for things that bring me happiness. I find it unfortunate when people complain about being busy, if you are struggling with busyness try implementing some of these rules, or make up you own.