Darren Lawrence

2018: The Year of ‘Crazy Busy’

‘Crazy Busy’: A very common response (or words to that effect) when I ask colleagues or friends about how life is going.

‘How’s it going?’
‘Oh…it’s just Crazy Busy at the moment.’

Crazy Busy! When as the human race did we get to Crazy Busy? In my experience, many of us are suffering from this seemingly modern phenomenon. When was the last time you heard, or even said:

‘I have a comfortable workload at the moment actually,
I’m relaxed and everything is ticking over quite nicely’?

I don’t know too many people like that, despite the role that social media sometimes plays in suggesting that everyone else has life sorted. Sometimes we feel as though we are on a hamster wheel. And surely, if Crazy Busy continues for too long, it’s not sustainable, something breaks, we are not machines, we need to rest and recuperate. Life can feel a slog, of course, sometimes for valid reasons. But we also need enjoyment, fun, and a release!

The way I see it is, the great thing about the majority of us is that, to a greater or lesser extent – we are in control of our own lives.

So when I hear, as I often have done recently (and I have said it myself) ‘life is crazy’ – I want to ask – who or what is making it that way? In the main, we have a choice. We can allow life to do to us and pass us by, or we can take control. As Oliver Burkeman says ‘if your schedule is crammed, you won’t find extra time; you’ll have to make it.’

Some people might not see a problem with Crazy Busy, and if that is you and you are happy with that then who am I to suggest you do otherwise? But for many, there is a negative connotation, and a suggestion that being Crazy Busy comes at the expense of doing the things we want to do, or how we want life to be.

Over the last few months in particular, and even into this month in the lead up to Christmas, my life has indeed been ‘crazy’ (one of the reasons I haven’t blogged in a while). A lot of that comes from work demands and deadlines, particularly being self employed, a changing personal/homelife situation, and also other responsibilities with children and so on.

But, really, it’s not how I want life to continue. So, I wanted to understand more about what I could do to make life less Crazy Busy.

A Quick Exercise

  1. Make a list now, of all the things you spend your time on each week. This can be as detailed as you want it to be. Think about each day, working days, weekends, evenings. Then – 
  2. Try and put a number of hours/percentage against the tasks to show how much time per week is taken up by each thing. There are 168 hours in a week. Don’t forget sleep! Then:
  3. For the things you have to do put an H alongside them…
  4. For those things you want to do put a W alongside them…(some of the H’s may also be W’s)
  5. Draw a pie chart of how your time is currently spent and add the H’s and the W’s
  6. What’s the balance?
  7. What needs to change as a result?

Here’s mine (not an exact science as some activities overlap etc):

 When I see this visually, I think –

  • I have to sleep, I have to work, I have certain responsibilities at home and with the children. There is not a lot of wriggle room here.
  • The opportunity to spend my time differently probably comes under ‘downtime’ and I actually have more of that than I thought.
  • I would like to sleep more – increasing this from avg 6 hours to 7 hours a night
  • Work less, particularly at the weekends which is preventing me from doing other things
  • To do this, I need to be more selective and discerning about the projects I take on, and be realistic about what is possible
  • Maximise the time I have with my children
  • Exercise more – one additional session per week (30 mins)
  • See family and friends more regularly and plan this in and not leave it to chance
  • How can I use my ‘downtime’ in different ways e.g. less screen time, more time reading books or newspapers or listening to new music.
  • There are also things not even on the list as I have stopped doing them. Or haven’t started doing them yet. These are things I would like to make time for.
  • I listed ‘watching football’ as an activity but forgot to include eating or drinking… ?

Already, just by going through this exercise, there is a start of a personal action plan which if I can implement it, I know will make my life better, and more in line with my expectations and values.

We Choose to Be Busy

One of the key contributory factors to Crazy Busy as I see it, is we choose to be busy, for whatever reason. We cram our days and our lives with tasks, projects, responsibilities, activities, travel and so on. Perhaps we like feeling busy, or we feel we must be busy to be worthy or important, useful, with a purpose and being busy gives us this purpose. Or is it sometimes being busy for busy’s sake?

Do we sometimes see busy as a badge of honour?

We spend a lot of time responding to the needs of others, which makes us even busier, we are often altruistic, and this is a good thing of course. There is plenty of research to suggest that ‘doing good does you good’ as it can bring both mental and physical benefits.

However within this, I believe we should also consider our own needs – which is a nod to ‘self care’ and ‘mindfulness’ although this post isn’t really about that.

My main thought here is by defining what it is you are about, what you want out of life, work, relationships and yourself – we can all live a happier and perhaps less crazy life. Strip some of it back, to a simpler, more enjoyable existence.

Reflection

Perhaps spend some time over the Christmas period reflecting on 2018. Five minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours, 2 weeks – whatever time you can carve out. What went well this year? What have you really enjoyed doing? How can you do more of that? What are the areas for improvement? How can you make it better? What’s in your control? What’s out of your control? What’s the balance of your life? What do you want it to be?

For 2019 – how can you be less Crazy Busy, and more in control, to live a life you really enjoy? I would be interested in your thoughts in the comments box below.

Thank you for reading this blog and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I am now taking on new coaching clients for the New Year. If you would like to have an initial conversation about how my coaching can help you into 2019, please call 07703 359673 or email Darren@Darren-Lawrence.com

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