Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and felt drained? Wished you just had 1 more hour (or 2 or 3)? Dreaded the next day or even week because you knew it was going to be crazy busy? Believe me, I have been there. Guess what? It doesn't have to be this way. You can have a busy life and still feel accomplished, not defeated. You just have to take small steps to get there.
Being busy can be misconceived as a good thing -- higher social status, work ethic, or societal worth. That's not always the case though. Being busy does not equal a full, happy life. I learned this the hard way, and if you find yourself just trying to stay afloat, it's time to start taking your life back.
Here are 5 simple ways to balance your busy life, so you can live fully and more intentionally:
1. Live by the one-minute rule.
This is so simple yet so effective. Do any task that you can finish in one minute. That's it. Hang your coat up. Put that dish in the dishwasher. Make your bed when you get up.
In no time, the things that were daunting become less so, there's less clutter, and there's more room for happiness.
2. Say no.
Start practicing saying no to things you don't have time for or have no interest in. Saying no can be scary. Will I be missing out on an opportunity? Will people think I'm rude? What if I hurt someone's feelings? These are all questions that shouted in the back of my mind when I was faced with a decision. As a habitual people pleaser, it was all too easy for me to get in the habit of agreeing to projects or plans that didn't excite, fuel, or benefit me.
Learning to say no gives you the power and freedom to say yes to more things that truly matter to you. You'll have the ability to live with focus and intention rather than doing a bunch of here and there things that don't add up to much.
3. Catch up on the simple pleasures (that you've probably been saving "for later")
Just when is later exactly? Do the little things that you've been putting off. Read a book, go on a walk, flip through a magazine, get a pedicure (or even better, a massage), or do a 10-minute yoga session.
The world will not catch on fire if you take a break and some me time. More over, you'll have a clear mind and heart to take on whatever comes your way when you get back to your busy life.
It can be tempting to just keep scrolling or flipping back and forth between apps, continually refreshing. I'm 110% guilty of this, but what good does that do?
For this, you'll need to find what works best for you. However, we've come up with a few suggestions to get you thinking on what fits -- No screens of any kind in bed. Studies suggest that unplugging before bed can improve quality of sleep. I think we all know the extensive list of benefits of good quality sleep. Another suggestion is no phones at the dinner table. This might not reap the same health benefits, but it allows you to really be present and engage in conversation with your friends or family.
The key is to make a rule and stick to it.
5. Understand your "why"
If you remember just one little bit from our list, let it be this. No matter the path you are on, whether you're a student, parent, traveler, business owner, life can be overwhelming. The key to achieving happiness amidst a crazy, busy life is to understand your why.
You can do the steps above, decrease the clutter, cut out the extra, and take time for yourself, but for some reason, it still might not feel like enough. Take a moment (for me, it was a lot of moments) and think about what truly matters to you.
Then, ask yourself why you're doing the things you're doing. If you can't answer this or your reasons don't align with what truly matters to you, it isn't worth it. So don't do it.
If you've ever been overworked, overscheduled, lost sleep because you felt anxious, or were putting a lot into something but weren't satisfied with the return, you need to focus on your why. Do this, and you'll be setting yourself up for happiness.
The start of a new year is the perfect time for reflection. It serves as a fresh start, so I encourage you to take it. You don't want 2017 to be the year of busy, so make it the year you took your life into your own hands and kicked butt.