How to get unstuck from the trap of ‘Busy’
My journey to bringing more balance into my life has been a curvy one. I’ve had to bottom out completely before I fully knew what was most important to me. I was the person always saying ‘yes’ to everyone else, fitting in as much as possible into my schedule and taking on the extra projects at work. All because I felt I ‘had to’. Because that was the only way I knew to feel valued, appreciated, respected, and that I belonged.
Most of us have an imprint that we’re more valuable the more we do. Therefore, we add more and more to our To Do lists, thinking the more we do, the better we are—and yet we’re left feeling more and more weighed down, and exhausted. For myself, and for my clients, I got to the point where I wanted things to change. And at the same time, I was frozen with fear of losing control, worried that things wouldn’t get done ‘correctly’ if I were to stop, or would happen if I wasn’t busy all the time? ‘Busy-ness’ becomes a numbing behaviour or a way to (temporarily) stay in control. Identifying how I kept getting myself trapped in this loop has been instrumental in the changes I’ve made to my lifestyle. If you feel like you’re constantly in this loop of giving to everyone else, and thinking about having ‘more time’ is feeling overwhelming, here are three simple strategies that will give you the clarity you need to release the burden.
Step 1: Triggers
This is all about identifying your biggest triggers that get you stuck in the ‘busy’ loop in the first place. Getting straight to the cause—what are you really afraid of? We’re all human, we’re all just doing the best we can with the resources available to us at any point in time. And we’re also all just worried what other people are thinking of us! We share universal fears of am I being judged? Am I good enough? Will I belong? Which means our knee-jerk reactions to things keeping us stuck on ‘busy’ are actually in response to your fears, worries, concerns, that you’re ‘not good enough’. Getting curious each time you’re triggered and asking what’s this really about? is a great way to shift into having more control over your response.
Step 2: Egos
Next step is to thank your ego. OUT LOUD. I’m not even kidding. As strange as it might sound, language is incredibly important. It gets the thoughts out of your head and into the open. Your ego is built to protect you which means sometimes it will fight fight fight over things that are not exactly that threatening. And sometimes (okay, a lot of the time!) your ego gets it wrong. And that’s okay.
Your role is to check in with it. To guide it, train it, help it to perform to your best advantage. So when you hear it freaking out and suggesting you’re not good enough, you’re being judged, or you don’t belong – thank it out loud and tell it you’ve got this: “Thank you ego. I’ve got this”. (If you’re wondering, yes I have been known to walk through the streets of London talking out loud to myself (well, to my ego), because trust me, it works).
Step 3: New behaviours
You’ve noticed your triggers. You’ve stopped your ego in its tracks. Now what? The next step to cementing any new behaviour—i.e. to staying off that cycle of ‘busy’—is to replace the old behaviour with a new one. That will serve you. Support you. Is sustainable. In Rhonda Britton’s Fearless Living she talks a lot about this. She says we have to do more than just identify the triggers. The subconscious mind must have an alternative route to take, guidance to choose a new path. So, what could you do instead of your typical knee-jerk response? Time to start a list of things you can do instead. At the point you notice your trigger, what could you do immediately that would be different to your norm? This could be as simple as writing out a few affirmations in your journal, calling a friend, playing loud happy music.
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