Is your lifestyle a “self inflicted” wound?

Many of my posts are a response to issues I deal with in my every day life.  Some of them you may find interesting while others may be so obscure or random that you will totally ignore them.  My post today will be a borderline rant, but it is a subject that I confront and I know many of you do also.

Life is full of choices.  Most of them are choices we freely make.  I realize there are exceptions to this, but I think you will agree that many of the issues that you and I both confront have their roots in a conscious choice we have made.

One of the real pet peeves I am dealing with today is the comment from others, and from myself, that we are “too busy”.  What does this mean?  Too busy is a symptom with roots that are found in a couple of areas that can be addressed.  My intent is to get each one of us, including myself, to take a hard look at what we do, or say we will do, and make better choices as we move through this time we call Life.

I am a Cause person.  My life has been a series of getting involved with many causes, all of them good ones, in order to make things better for myself and others.  The list is long, but that is not the point today.

My last post was on Focus, and the lack of focus is one of the primary culprits that leads to this Busyness issues we confront.  Here is the relationship:

  • With proper focus, it becomes readily apparent what we should or should not sign on to help with or do.  Work for most of us is series of projects where we either willingly volunteer, or are strongly encouraged to volunteer, to make a difference.  How many of you can look at projects you have gotten engaged in and said, “I should have never agreed to do this”?  I suspect that many of you can make that statement.
  • Our personal life is also full of choices we make that we often regret; we get involved in a good cause, we sign up the kids for too many sports or activities, the list goes on and on.  In trying to be everything to everyone, we end up not being effective at all, unless you are superman or superwoman.

A few of you will look at the previous two paragraphs and shake your head in agreement.  Some of you will deny this and keep on doing what you are doing.  What is the solution?

Here are a few thoughts I will share today that will help you become “less busy” and “more effective”.

  • Personal and professional goals will go a long way in helping to determine what you say Yes to and what you say No to
  • The word No is the most underused word in the English language.  If many of us said more no often, we might be happier with ourselves, be more engaged with our friends and our families, and live happier lives
  • Reflection is a skill that is also vastly underused.  When was the last time you sat down and just reviewed how things are going?  Have you talked with your spouse or friends to ask for some direct feedback about your effectiveness and your pace?  If you will just take the time to do some of this you might find out that what you think you are doing is not what other see at all.  Let me clarify that at the end of the day you need to be happy with yourself and not let others drive your lifestyle.  On the other hand, we exist to serve others.  This dynamic tension exists for us all and how you address it says a lot about who you are as a person.

Feeling busy?  Not getting things done or not doing them well enough?

Take some time to reflect and learn how to say No more often.  I’ll be back next week to add on to this post.

In the meantime, take a deep breath and find out what really works for you right now.