“I’m sorry, I can’t do XYZ. I’m just so busy.”

“How have you been?” – “Busy.”

having a great deal to do

busy (adj)

Busy. Busy. Busy. Our lives are filled to the brim with things to do, places to be, and people to see. We continue to schedule things, squeeze things in, and continue to say yes to everything, even if we can’t handle another task. We overwhelm ourselves because busy is just a way to say we’ve lost control of our time.

“I just don’t have enough time to do everything.”

There’s a saying that time is our most precious resource, but I’ll challenge that by saying that attention is our most precious resource. Are you using your attention on motion or action? That is, are you spending your focused time on things that don’t produce results or are you actually taking steps to complete things?

a condition of readiness for such attention (the act or state of applying the mind to something) involving especially a selective narrowing or focusing of consciousness and receptivity

attention (n)

Busyness has become a status symbol; a signal of being in high demand and important. But are we filling empty space with motion rather than action? How much of our busyness is actually a priority?

something that is very important and must be dealt with before other things

priority (n)

If attention, the ability to focus during a time, is our most precious resource, why are we spending it on things that aren’t a priority?

Take a look at how you spend your day and you will see where your priorities are. Reflect on the time spent on social media. Understand how much dedicated attention you give to a project without switching to another tab. Multi-tasking isn’t giving your full attention to a thing, and it’s definitely not being present in the moment.

Use your attention for action. Rather than do, achieve. Be in the moment and focused completely on what is right in front of you. See how your productivity changes. Be willing to say no so you can focus on the things you say yes to – the things that are priority.

I challenge you, the next time someone asks you how you are, to reflect before the automatic “busy” response comes out of your mouth. Move away from busy so you can give your attention to the priority items. Instead of worrying about filling space in your day, use that time to focus on something important – which might be nothing at all. Mindfulness in times of “empty” space can help you practice prioritization and reduce the feeling of “busy”.

-Laura