How many of you go through each day like this? Wake up; shower; breakfast with coffee; maybe get kids off to school; drink more coffee, take a quick look at your to-do list and start making mental notes about which ones you’re going to check off first; have another cup coffee in your to-go cup, and head to work.

We’re busy, no doubt about it. In an interview in The Atlantic, Silvia Bellezza, a marketing professor at Columbia Business School, says that we so often brag about how busy we are that it has become a status symbol.

But is being busy really something to brag about?

Business psychologist Tony Crabbe argues that our “busyness” is an avoidance mechanism that prevents us from doing the meaningful things we should be completing. As he puts it, we get to feel “productive while procrastinating.” And this “busyness” can contribute to stress and, ultimately, bad health.

At the same time, however, we have personal and business goals we want to meet. These can include getting a promotion or expanding the business, or simply wanting to redecorate the house, furthering our education or becoming more attentive parents. Unfortunately, all this other stressful stuff gets in the way. We become irritable, start losing things and always seem to feel tired.

If you want to reduce the “busyness” of your life so you can relax more and focus on your personal or business goals, try these three tips.

1. Mandate a Day of Rest for Yourself
Take one day, ideally either a Saturday or Sunday, and do not work that day. Specifically, do not read or answer emails related to work, do not work on projects, and let all business-related calls to your cell phone roll over into voicemail. It will be difficult at first, to be sure, but you’ll begin feeling the results, such as less stress, better sleep, restored mental energy and more. This can also be the day you use to catch up on household projects, whether it’s something as simple as cleaning the bathroom or as complex as landscaping your front yard.

2. Outsource the Basic Household Tasks
How many times have you fretted during a day of work because you forgot to do a chore at home? Or looked at your full calendar and wondered when you were going to have time to run your best suit to the cleaners? Today, there are a number of services that can perform those daily tasks for you, everything from running errands, shopping, cleaning your house, mowing your lawn and even walking your dog. These services usually charge by the hour but can easily take a few personal, time-consuming tasks off your to-do list so you can focus on your goals.

3. Learn How to Relax
For most people, this is a lot easier said than done. In such a go-go world, we’ve forgotten how to do something as essential as relaxing. According to Dr. Will Meek at Psychology Today, we’re activating what’s called the sympathetic nervous system when we’re stressed or upset or angry. The trick is to kick in the parasympathetic nervous system to put our mind and body back to a relaxed state. There are plenty of ways to make yourself relax, from learning how to meditate, breathing deeply, closing your eyes for a few minutes or even just sipping green tea.

Our busy lives can cause us to lose sight of so many things, especially when we need to take care of ourselves and work on personal (or business) goals. Taking a day of rest, outsourcing personal tasks and relaxing can make us focus on what’s important.


Special Guest Author, Julie Morris

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