“I’m always onto the next thing.” “I’m doing too much.” “I have too much on my plate.” “It feels like a race.”
Those are just a few of the common phrases I’ve heard in many of my recent conversations. “Ok, Universe! What are you trying to say?” was my question.
This common thread in conversations with my clients and students often leads to a new clarity or understanding, and many times it reflects things that I need to see in myself.
Do you really need to get one last thing done before leaving the house or the office?
Is it necessary to stop at the dry cleaners on your way to the hair salon and arrive out of breath?
When we rush, and try to do too many things, we live in a state of pressure, resistance, and stress. It feels like we are racing our way through life and pushing against time. The problem is that it becomes a habit, and we start believing that we have no control over our schedule or our time.
Why do you live a crazy, over-busy, rushed life?
First, get some awareness about the cause of the craziness. Identifying your specific reason(s) for living an over-busy, rushed life can give you some clarity and direction on how to find more balance and harmony. Which of the following reasons speak to you?
You might be an overachiever.
You could be addicted to stress.
Maybe you feel not good enough.
You escape and avoid.
You’ve simply gotten used to it.
You learn it from others.
You try to please others.
You’re afraid to say no.
High functioning people and overachievers grow up picking up messages from parents, teachers, and society that they always have to perform and continuously “be better.”
Stress is not a bad thing. It is our reaction to stress that we want to change. Many people like the rush of adrenaline they get when they are overstressed about things. Even if long-term they feel worse, in the short-term, they feel better.
We live in a scarcity-mindset world where we always feel not good enough, not smart enough, not young enough, just not “enough.” It is an illusion to think that if we do more, it will make us feel more worthy and loved.
Making ourselves over-busy and over-stressed with too much on our plate is a good distraction. Instead of connecting with how we really feel, we escape as far as we can from our emotions.
You’ve been doing it for such a long time that you don’t think there is another way. It becomes part of your identify and you believe that you cannot change.
It’s a generational habit. You learned it from your parents, and when you see everybody around you behaving in the same way it reinforces your tendencies.
This might not be true for everybody, but many people want other people to like them, and that becomes their motivation to do more, to work harder, and to attract recognition and praise.
When you decide to balance your crazy, over-busy, rushed life, you need to set boundaries and start saying no: saying no to meetings, saying no to helping others, saying no to taking care of others first. It can feel uncomfortable saying no and much easier to keep doing what you’re doing.
What’s the cost of living a crazy, over-busy, rushed life?
Not enjoying what you do
Tired and exhausted
Burned out and overwhelmed
Engaging in unhealthy actions like overeating, overdrinking and other addictions to cope
Developing anxiety, depression and an overall feeling of unhappiness
Not enjoying your relationships
Disconnecting from purpose
Should I continue, or do you get the picture?
When rushing becomes habitual, it might be easier and feel safer to continue doing it because that’s what we know, and change is scary.
How do you balance your crazy, over-busy, rushed life?
Once you identify what causes you to always rush and you understand the pain living like that is causing you, just becoming aware and understanding the price you are paying are a good starting point for changing your unhealthy habits.
You must accept responsibility for your schedule and for your time. Instead of being controlled by your schedule, start taking charge of your calendar and plan your tasks, activities, and projects so they support your desires.
Ask yourself: Do I really need to rush now? Do I like how rushing makes me feel?
Explore a new way of being. Challenge yourself to be mindful in your conversations, your decisions, and your choices. Pause. Step back. Become an observer (rather than just a participant) of your own life. Change your mindset and approach life from a slowing down and being mindful attitude. Shift your focus from getting things done to enjoying the present moment. Develop practices that help you achieve balance daily. Be intentional and come up with creative ways to slow down.
Achieving balance is a choice.
It might not be perfect.
You might be disappointed at times.
You’ll have good days and bad days.
Give yourself permission to stop the craziness and to enjoy the journey because that’s what life is all about.