Your Busy Life – No Time to Think
“I’ve been so busy, I’ve been meaning to call you, but things have just been crazy!” You say, when you bump into a friend you haven’t had time to catch up with for a while.
“I’ve been meaning to (do that thing, whatever it is), but we’ve just been SOOO busy, what with the job and the kids and Fred’s Mum’s illness and (blah, blah, blah) that we’ve barely had time to scratch ourselves, never mind do (the thing).”
Sound familiar? Yup, it’s all too familiar for most of us, because no matter how hard we cycle on the hamster’s treadmill of life these days, we just never seem to get on top of it all or even just find the time to think.
Today’s Fast-Paced World
There’s an old adage that ‘Nobody ever dies with an empty in-tray’, and how often do you hear people, especially those in small business, complaining that they are so bombarded with so many SPAM emails and annoying, unsolicited phone calls from marketers with foreign accents that they missed the important email or call amongst all the ‘noise’.
For my wife, Jo and I, this year has seen us undertake an unprecedented amount of travel. We’ve been playing catch up on the pre-COVID planned vacations. Jo had planned to go on a course in New Zealand when the borders were unexpectedly closed in 2020. Rather than waste the flight ticket, we bought one for me as well, and in February 2023 we took a long overdue and much-needed ten-day break to beautiful Queenstown.
In May, we made our annual trip to Bali, practically on the doorstep for us Perth-dwellers, but we stayed for seventeen days, our longest thus far. Finally, in June, we made our massive international catch-up trip for the holiday we had booked in 2019 but which had been canned indefinitely by the pandemic and we flew to the USA for a seventeen-day tour through Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Icefields and cruised the Inside Passage to Alaska. We are filled with gratitude for this amazing year, the incredible sights and the wonderful people we encountered throughout this period.
This, however, was in sharp contrast to the last couple of years. Just like many other people who own and operate small businesses, the last couple of years were challenging. We were lucky, in that my small cleaning business was deemed to provide ‘essential services’, so we could stay open and keep working. My coaching work could still be conducted online, though the demand dropped off as people were more cautious about investing in their growth during uncertain times with uncertain cash flows. The only catch with my cleaning work was that it was a nightmare trying to find reliable, responsible staff whilst those borders were closed. The students who were here were in demand and soon finished their courses. Backpackers and new students couldn’t come in, and it seemed like many of our local students, who had enjoyed more privileged upbringings found such work to be ‘beneath them’ or simply too demanding for their more fragile work ethics. I know that’s a generalisation and your kids probably work really hard, but this situation was my interpretation of my experience.
The bottom line was that I got sucked back into working as a full-time cleaner for two years, give or take, throughout 2021 and 2022, to keep my contracts going until the workers began to reappear. As you may have gathered, by February 2023, I was able to recruit and train a whole new team so I could get back ‘off the tools’ and step back to my managerial role, catch up on a massive list of home projects and begin to rekindle more of my coaching and mentoring practice.
The Other Side of the Coin
It wasn’t all bad of course. By working hands-on in my other business, I could reassess how long things took, I could streamline systems and build relationships and I could quote far more accurately on new contracts. I also made new friendships via online mastermind groups whom I might otherwise never have met but for the impact of a global pandemic.
During the lockdowns of 2020 especially, both Jo and I did a massive amount of reading inspirational and motivational books, listening to audiobooks and watching informative and educational videos. It was a huge opportunity to reflect, to take stock and to establish more committed habits in our personal, professional and spiritual development.
So, what’s the point here?
A Shift in Perspective
“Have you noticed when you go on vacation that for the first few days, you seem to have an endless holiday ahead of you, yet as you come to the last few days, your time seems to accelerate, and you race to the end of your escape break!”
The bizarre thing about that is that there are always 24 hours in every day. The last day of your holiday is just as long as the first day was, but it sure doesn’t feel like it, does it!
What changed was your perspective and your emotions around the time frame.
The journey home seems to drag. The flights seem longer. You wait around at airports for an eternity, and you just want to get home quickly because it’s all done and you’re returning to ‘the grind’.
Even though I am hit with those same human feelings, I have learned to make the most of that ‘potentially boring’ time, by using it to ‘think’, to ‘reflect’, to ‘plan’, to ‘read’ inspirational books, to ‘write’ thoughts, blogs, even work on my next book.
James Allen wrote that ‘Men simply do not think’. Ladies would definitely agree, but he actually meant ‘mankind’ i.e. ‘all of us’.
We allow ourselves to be ‘SOOOO BUSYYYY!’ that we drift along through life, perhaps setting and achieving some of our goals, but in many cases not even having time to think about what we really want, or why we really want it.
Many people stay in dull, unfulfilling jobs, or feel trapped in businesses for which they no longer have any passion. They go through the motions and life passes them by as if they were extras in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’. If you haven’t seen it, schedule it in because it’s about a guy who finds himself stuck in a small town where every day he wakes up and relives the exact same day, no matter what he tries to change.
Why Questions are the Answer
So, my message today is, that if you want your life to be more fulfilling, more inspirational and more joyous, the first key step is to allocate some ‘YOU TIME’. Take some time out to simply THINK. Write down your thoughts and feelings about the answers to existential questions like:
- Am I happy?
- What am I grateful for?
- What do I want?
- Why do I want it?
- What’s stopping me?
- Who do I know who can help me with (that?)
I realise that sometimes these questions may seem overwhelming, so you might think it easier NOT to think about them. As a Coach however, I have a lot more good questions for you, and I can help you chunk it down, so it’s not so scary. I’m sure you get my drift.
Before things will change, you need to change (something). The key is to figure out what it is that needs to change, and more importantly, why.
If you need any help with that, please subscribe to my blog, grab a copy of my book or follow me on social media. You can also attend one of my workshops or reach out to me directly if you are ready to resolve some issues. Know however, that by allocating some time to truly think, you can be less busy and more effective at creating your ideal life.