I just started a new job a little over a week ago. Like any new job, the first month is a barrage of paperwork, forms, online surveys, meeting new people, and deciphering roles and responsibilities. Starting a new job is like running down the tracks and hopping on a freight train that is moving full speed. Once you hop on, you must orient yourself to your new surroundings and discover the destination all while dealing with your existing baggage.
With my new position comes a host of new responsibility, but one thing that remains consistent is the enormous about of time I spend meeting with people both inside and outside my office. There is a common thread to almost every meeting I have had with people recently.
“How are you?” –“Busy”
“How’s your work?” –“Oh man, it’s so busy”
“How’s your family?” –“Busy running around with the kids all weekend”
“How’s your life, church, hobbies, etc?” – “Busy, busy busy”
“I’m too busy to work out”
“I’m too busy to spend time meditating”
“I’m too busy to _________________”
I even saw an old friend of mine the other day and told him we should get together soon. “Yeah once things slow down and it’s not so busy we should put something on the calendar.” This is a friend I have reached out to multiple times over the last two years to hang out with no luck. I finally realized, that it’s not that he is too busy, it is just that he is too busy for me…
A funny thing happens when you sit down and evaluate your life and your ‘busy’ schedule. Somehow, you always find time to do the important things. You’re never too busy to eat food. You’re never too busy to take a shower and drive yourself to school or work. You’re never too busy for things that really matter.
As I’m on this new freight train moving forward, I am really examining my world of ‘busy’. Does my ‘busy’ have any lasting eternal value or is it just stuff that fills my time?
Things I’m doing to try and cut the busy:
- Determine your anchors.
What are the things you absolutely must do or should be doing? How can we maximize the value in those activities? God commanded us to treat our bodies as his temple. This means we need to eat, sleep and exercise as good stewards of His gift. In addition, meditation, prayer and spiritual formation should be anchors that are nonnegotiable do to their eternal value.
- Re-prioritize what’s important.
Make a list of all the things you do during the day or week. For me, it is typically work meetings and activities. Looking at all the things I have going on, asking myself if all these activities are necessary is an important reflection. Can I combine things? What is the point of each activity, and how can I be mentally present at each one. This also includes making sure I’m spending time with the people I love, and friends that edify my life.
- Cut the fluff. There can be too much of a good thing.
There is a term in endurance sports called Hyponatremia. This is a condition in which an athlete typically drinks too much water during exercise and dilutes their sodium levels. The thing about Hyponatremia is that it is often deadly. Something as simple as drinking too much water (which is the building block of life) can literally kill you. I talk to people almost weekly that have overloaded their plates to a Hyponatremia level. Something good like volunteering in your community or even your church, can create a condition where you choke out everything else and break down. I’ve experienced this multiple times in terms of panic attacks and anxiety because I’ve had too much on my plate. Go back to re-prioritizing what’s important and focus on 1-2 activities you can succeed in and then back away from the rest. God designed us for balance and there can be too much of a good thing.
- Ask for help and delegate.
There are plenty of times when there really is a problem of ‘too-much’. This is where we need to swallow our pride and ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people are ready to jump in and lend a hand when life really is ‘too busy’. I hit these times often, and am slowly learning how to ask for help and prayer to get me through.