Are you busy? Why? Are you rushing? Why? Being busy and accomplishing a lot of things is supposed to get us somewhere we want to be, or something we want to have. But is it working?
We usually believe that we have to rush to get everything done and we have to get everything done in order to get what we need. But sometimes what happens is the rush and the busyness take on a life of their own and we are forced to keep rushing even though there is no objective reason for it.
These reflections were sparked by a great essay by Rick Hanson, PhD in his free newsletter Just One Thing. It’s a weekly practice suggestion that can help you find “more joy, more fulfilling relationships and more peace of mind”.
Hanson advises us to “avoid the rush” and stop to consider which of the things we are busy with is really important and which are being foisted on us by outside forces, or even by our own busyness-loving minds. As with all mindfulness, anti-busyness practice asks us to look at what is real and present right now. What are my needs and is today’s work getting me closer to meeting them?
As he says, “you can’t carry five quarts in a gallon bucket” and it’s time for each of us to step back and see what we can realistically do in the time we have.
Sometimes it seems like time management is just another job to add on top of all the other jobs we’re juggling, but Hanson reminds us that it’s “a matter of seeing clearly what is, a matter of being in reality rather than being confused or in a sense deluded.”
Stephen Covey is another author moodsurfing likes a great deal. He created a four quadrant system for categorizing tasks. The essence of the system is that our society values urgency (things with short deadlines) above importance (things that really matter), with the result that we often prioritize things that are urgent but not important over things that really matter. This is what happens when we don’t devote enough attention to prioritizing our “to do” list.
Today, resolve to breathe through the “to do” list and make sure it fits in the number of hours and amount of energy available before plunging into action that may or may not get you somewhere you want to be.
More on busyness and getting things done: