When you have too much going on

Busy busy busy. Too much going on. How will you get everything done?

It turns out that the feelings of busyness and overwhelm have as much to do with the way you relate to what you want to do than to the quantity of quality of the work itself.

To learn to relate in a better way to your busyness, it helps to first notice what you’re doing.

So if “how will I get everything done?” is a familiar state of mind for you, try this:

  1. Sit down.
  2. Turn on “do not disturb” on your phone.
  3. Start a 5-minute timer.
  4. Close your eyes.
  5. Count your breaths. One, two, three… and when you reach ten, start over at one.

Notice when you get distracted.

Did you start thinking about how busy you are? About all the things you still want to do? Did you find yourself mentally planning the rest of your day/week/life?

If so, awesome. Noticing that is step one. Next time, when you notice yourself doing that, say to yourself “oh hey, I’m planning again”. And then move on with your day.

When you’re having a stressful moment, sitting down like this and paying attention to your thoughts is much more effective than throwing more hours at your to-do lists.

Don’t sleep less, exercise less, or spend less time with your family to try to get things under control.

Instead, realize that the experience of “busy” occurs in your head. And if you take five minutes to sit down and pay attention to your thoughts, you might feel slightly less busy, slightly less overwhelmed.

The external circumstances won’t have changed, but the way you relate to them might be a little bit healthier.


— Peter

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