We have decided we aren’t playing anymore. Do you hear that!!! Oh…sorry…didn’t mean to yell at you. We were just expressing a strong conviction to the Universe. What we mean is we will always play, but we have both decided that we refuse to play the “BUSY” game anymore.
Almost every woman we know plays it and some of us have become world champions. How about you? Huh? What are we talking about? Well, here is how it usually plays out.
Sister #1 “Oh my gosh! If I get one more thing to do I’m going to spin right out of my body!”! (This is followed by a long grocery list of what she is doing, what the kids are doing, and what is happening at work.)
Sister #2 “Boy do I know what you mean. My life is crazy right now!” (This is also followed with a similar list but is always told with one extra event to out do Sister #1)
The bonus round starts when a third party suggests taking some time for yourself or taking a vacation, or taking a bubble bath. That is when our participants begin with the frustration of, “Are you kidding??? – I’VE GOT THINGS TO DO!” If you knew about my life, you would know that just isn’t possible” Ding Ding Ding….we have a WINNER!!!! You are officially the busiest person I know.
We live in a culture that not only doesn’t encourage stillness but has no respect for it. “BUSY” is the name of the game and the busiest person wins. Some how we got suckered into this stupid game too. By being the busiest person we know, we justify sucking up good air and taking up real estate on the planet. We validate ourselves with how much we are contributing, how many people we are responsible for and how many hours we can burn without a nap. That feels like how life works but as we watch our sisters struggling on their own hamster wheels (and then taking our turn on that wheel ourselves) we have to ask? Really?
So what is the alternative? Well, we love lists. So here is our answer. List everything (yes everything) that you want to do, need to do, choose to do in a weeks time. Don’t leave anything out. Include picking up the dry cleaning and taking your aunt to lunch. Include the school play, the quicken report and staining the deck.
Now next to each item answer the question, “Why?” Simple question, not so simple answer, right? Some things will be because you really want to. Some will be because you may not enjoy the task, you enjoy the results (like cleaning the house or staining that deck). Some will be not because you enjoy the task but you feel good sharing a connection with others (like taking your aunt to lunch or attending the school play). Those are all valid reasons.
However, you may find items on your list that you aren’t doing for any other reason than, you have always done it, or someone is expecting you to do it. Those are the ones to rethink. Ask, yourself, “Is this really how I choose to invest my time?” If the answer is “no” it’s time to start taking yourself off some committees, getting help from a carpool and learning to say, “I don’t think I will be able to help you this week, but thank you for thinking of me.”