In yesterday’s Sunday Times Style Magazine, India Knight (one of my favourite writers) tackled a subject that really resonated with me – the subject was busyness and her column was spot on. She has inspired me to write about this from a coaching perspective.
I have talked about competitive busy syndrome for years-I noticed it first when my children were at primary school and the school gate was awash with working mothers (and some not working mothers) who rushed from home to school, to work, to the shops to pilates and back again relentlessly for years and years. Often late-sometimes with honey in their hair but annoyingly always banging on about how busy they were-how there were never enough hours in the day and how much they always HAD to do. It was as if the world would stop turning if their lives were not crammed with activity-madness!
I have always been a working mum and yes, it is busy but I never felt the need to compete. I just got on with it. A career as a journalist means you have deadlines and school run or not, my Editors would expect copy finished, filed and ready before I left the office but trust me, I never felt indispensable or busier than anyone else. And I certainly never felt the need to make an announcement about it all!
Fast forward many years and I now have a brilliant 19-year-old off to Uni and a 22 year-old living the dream as a freelance photographer and amazing skateboarder. But even though all my school gate chums have children the same age as my own-the busyness thing still rages on. Just so you know…we all have the same amount of time available to us-24 hours in every day-60 minutes in every hour…yep we all have the same time available.
How we use it of course is up to us. A few years ago when the craziness of school runs started to subside and I became an official ‘slashie’ (multiple job person-journalist/coach/writer/lecturer/blogger) I made the decision to work smarter not harder and it has worked. I now encourage others to do the same by investing some time in coaching through our Write Your Life course.
It makes me sad and confused when I hear women my own age bemoaning the fact that they are working harder than ever and making less money than they should and have no time for anything else. However, I know there is a myriad of reasons for this perceived busyness. For some people there is no choice but they tend NOT to be the ones banging on about it. The others, I have discovered during coaching sessions, are usually using busyness as a very effective distraction technique. They are hiding behind the manic busyness that they have created. They are blocking out all sorts of emotions and situations rather than editing them out and making a new plan.
The busier we are the more important we feel, the more we can convince ourselves that we are totally bloody marvellous AND we don’t have TIME to really look at all the things in our lives that might actually NOT be working very well. Then when we do eventually stop we realise that life is passing us by, we are exhausted and we don’t really feel very happy or contented with life at all. Then, and only then, will we actually consider taking a look at our lives.
A daily writing exercise is the first step to engaging in a life audit, life edit and setting new goals to create the life you want. So this week, I encourage you to look at your diary and see how much of what you have planned is ‘real’ activity that has to happen and how much is being created to distract you from other things. Take ten minutes a day to sit and write about how you feel about different areas of your life and how you would LIKE your life to be.
See what comes up for you and then contact me for some FREE resources to help take your goal setting to the next level.