I’m always interested in ways to better maintain work-life balance, and there’s never a shortage of articles or self-help books on the subject. “The Busy Person’s Lies” and “What It Really Means to Have a Life Outside Work” are two titles that immediately come to mind, as does “Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy” by Alli Worthington. More on that in a minute.
The time seems especially ripe for me to take stock of how my hours are spent given that I’m working, trying to see the kids through one last week of school, and attempting to unpack our household after a recent move. (All with my husband’s unflagging support, mind you.) Downtime just doesn’t seem to be in my vocabulary right now.
Being constantly busy, without any time to stop and smell the roses, is not healthy. Though modern-day society might have you believe otherwise, overscheduling your days will not win you a badge of honor. If anything, it will earn you a broken-down immune system and a few unplanned-for days in bed, during which you feel like the world is coming to an end because you can’t fulfill your daily obligations.
As the somewhat popular saying goes, “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy,” and it is this temptation to overdo that I’m constantly trying to fight. While I’m sure men deal with this issue, I believe that women take special ownership of it. Perhaps it’s our natural inclination to nurture and care for others – to make sure that everything is as perfect as possible at all times so that everyone feels included – that pushes us to overdo. It certainly seems to diminish our ability to “just say no” to just about anything.
It’s taken me several years to develop a healthy self-respect for the word “no.” I no longer associate it with letting someone down. I now associate it with knowing my limits, and the side effects overextending myself will have on family, relationships, work, and my faith.
For those just dipping their toes into the self-preserving waters of “no,” check out Worthington’s book. While I can’t say I’ve read it, I have heard her offer several nuggets of wisdom via one of my favorite podcasts that will help women break their busy, including warning signs that your busy is about to eat you alive:
- You are late to everything, all the time.
- You become a ticking emotional time bomb as your schedule fills up.
- You can’t bring yourself to ask for help with meeting your obligations.
- You escape reality/obligations by spending time on social media.
- You become rundown due to lack of self-care.
- You neglect your faith because you run out of time.
Take heed of these signs and adjust your schedule – and the expectations you have for yourself – accordingly. You’ll find that not only can you stop and smell the roses, but that you can take the time to plant them, too.