How Busy Are You?

busy-beesI was in a colleague’s office the other day, and we were lamenting the stress we feel when our days are crammed with non-stop activity. She pulled a paperback off her bookshelf and loaned it to me, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan To Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule, and Reconnect with What Matters Most by Valorie Burton.

The title immediately grabbed my attention because I regularly ask myself that rhetorical question: How did life go from 0 to 60 so quickly? Well, maybe not starting 0, more like 15-20 mph; and on some days I’m hitting 75-80 after saying ‘yes’ to the multitude of activities and people I enjoy.

Burton offers this series of questions to assess how busy you are.

I feel as though I’m constantly trying to catch up at work.

I feel as though I am constantly trying to catch up with personal responsibilities.

My life feels out of balance.

My breathing right now is shallow.

I am regularly late to appointments and scheduled activities.

There’s rarely a break in my schedule.

My shoulders are not relaxed right now.

I eat lunch at my desk at least once per week.

I sometimes work straight through lunch.

I have not had a vacation longer than seven days in the last year.

I have not gotten together with friends for fun and conversation in over a month.

Keeping up with household chores is a struggle because of time constraints.

I am dissatisfied with the amount of quality time I am able to spend with my spouse or significant other.

I am dissatisfied with the amount of quality time I am able to spend with my child.

I don’t take time to exercise.

I resent the things I do for family or friends because I have little or no time for myself.

The fuel light in my car has come on at some point in the last two months because I have not had time to fill it up.

My mail is piled up because I haven’t had time to open or sort it.

I have missed paying a bill on time in the last three months because I was too busy to notice the due date had passed.

I sometimes run out of socks, jeans, or other clothing items because I haven’t had time to do the laundry.

I don’t have time to write thank-you notes.

My to-do list rarely gets completely checked off for the day.

I work late more than once per week.

At least once per week, I skip meals because I am too busy.

Burton suggests that if you check off 6 or more of these statements you are “too busy” – 17 or more statements and you are “out of control.”

What do you think of her list? Where’s the line between being energized by your busyness or drained by it? And, if you checked off only a handful of these statements, are you feeling satisfied with your life?

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If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Mother Theresa

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