One of our biggest missions in the work that we do is to help people to reclaim their schedules, their time, and their lives. We coach people to use tools and strategies to maximize their time and energy in order to spend more time in the “Sweet Spot”, living a life with purpose instead of a life of stress and overwhelm. Life doesn’t feel particularly fulfilling when we’re putting out fires all day, when we’re drowning in demands, or when we’re so burned out from too much on our plates that we find ourselves overindulging in food/alcohol/social media/whatever to ease the tension in our brains and bodies.
But, to be clear, living your Best Life Ever doesn’t mean you’ll NEVER be busy again. The reality is that there are going to be times in your life that, despite utilizing all your life hacking skills and productivity tools, you’re still gonna be effin’ BUSY. And guess what – if your life was always smooth sailing, with no ebb and flow of some level of stress, you’d most likely be bored out of your mind and find a way to create some excitement in your life.
So when someone asks you how you are and you hear yourself answer, “BUSY!!!!”, first you need to identify if you are dealing with Chronic Busyness or Seasonal Busyness. Chronic Busyness is a lifestyle (and often an addiction). It is a result of lack of planning, lack of clarity or purpose, and lack of boundaries. It can also be a sign that we are run by limiting beliefs like “I have to do it all” or “I’m the only one that can do the things that I do”. Chronic Busyness is damaging to our health (not to mention our relationships) but the good news is that it is curable. If you have Chronic Busyness, we recommend starting with Best Week Ever Big Visioning and Weekly Planning and then reach out to us for more support if you need it!
Seasonal Busyness on the other hand is the type of busyness that hits periodically and you know there is a definite end to it. The holidays are a prime example, tax season for accountants, beginning and end of the school year for teachers, certain projects at work, suddenly having to care for someone with a serious medical condition, etc. Unlike Chronic Busyness, Seasonal Busyness is not a result of saying yes to the wrong things, in fact it is often the result of saying yes to a multitude of the right things, but they just happen to be occurring all at once. Seasonal Busyness lasts for a few weeks, not a few years, and it can be a part of a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.
That being said, if left unchecked and not handled well, Seasonal Busyness can negatively impact our wellness and certainly can turn into Chronic Busyness. Without strategies in place to handle these short seasons of increased demands on our time, we can inadvertently lower our immune systems, shorten our fuses, and probably the worst thing of all – no longer enjoy the things we usually love.
Here are 5 tips to help you stay sane, healthy, and happy when Seasonal Busyness strikes (remember, you MUST first be absolutely sure that you’re not dealing with Chronic Busyness because the way you handle these are different):
1 – Communicate
Let the people know in your life what kind of season it is for you. Give them a “weather warning” of sorts to let them know what you have going on, how they can support you, and how you will be operating until the storm passes. Most of the time we keep pushing through Seasonal Busyness as silent sufferers until we crack and snap out of the blue at those around us. Don’t assume people know what you’re going through, be honest and transparent, and please ask for help if you need it!
2 – Outsource MORE
Seasonal Busyness is a perfect time to up your outsourcing game. Outsource the things that you usually have under control but could happily give up to reclaim more time. Consider hiring a personal chef or housecleaner for this season of your life or pay your kids to stuff for you (my favorite outsourcing hack).
3 – Guard your Self Care and Sweet Spot FIERCELY
Typically what are the first things to go when we’re busy? Our workouts, our self care, our fun, our Sweet Spot or passion projects, and our Me Time. As unnatural as it will feel at first, when Seasonal Busyness strikes, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT stop doing those “Important but Not Urgent” things that fuel your spirit, bring you joy, and restore your energy. Block out your health practices and whatever it is that feeds your soul on your calendar and stick to it unapologetically. You may need to cut back on a few things, but never completely cut out what restores you. If you do, you’ll burn out faster, feel resentful, and have less energy to handle what’s on your plate.
4 – Keep Perspective
When we know something is temporary, we have way more mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy to deal with it. Think of the difference of “Run as fast as you can for 30 seconds” or “Run as fast as you can, not sure how long, but it will be a while”. Hang up a calendar and give yourself a visual of how long you have until your schedule lightens. Remind yourself WHY you are doing what you’re doing and that it won’t be forever.
5 – Best Week Ever like your life depends on it
When I am slammed with Seasonal Busyness, my Best Week Ever process is a non-negotiable. This “Me Time” spent reviewing my overall wellness, reflecting on my challenges and successes, and going through my calendar with a fine tooth comb keeps me feeling sane, aligned, empowered, and energized. I may do a quicker, shortened, less reflective version of this practice, but I never skip it.
There you have it. Learn to recognize and heal Chronic Busyness and choose to befriend Seasonal Busyness by having strategies in place to rock these full and lively times in our lives.