We are all busy. Really busy. Just watch your Twitter feed on any given day and you will see just how busy everyone is. Coming, going, this way and that, at 100 miles an hour in 50 different directions at once. 

The past two weeks has been exceptionally busy for me. My video class is in full swing now, and I just found out I’m going to be teaching a Social Media course in the new year. So that’s going to be a steady stream of work to be sure. Our business is terrifically busy, with a couple of new projects that we have been thrown headlong into with very tight deadlines. I’m pulling 11, 12, 15 hour days and so is my biz partner. 

It used to be, when I was working for other people, that the really busy times would be a source of stress, frustration and exhaustion for me. I’d hit a wall eventually, and so would my projects. I’d end up having to take a few days off, just to recover. But this time it’s different, and here’s how I’m doing it:

1) One thing at a time. It’s a recurring theme for me, this “live in the moment” stuff. But I’ve recently read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and I’m telling you, it’s done wonders for me. Instead of focusing on all that I have to do, I focus on what is happening in this moment. All of the other stuff…the stuff that hasn’t happened yet, and the stuff that has already happened…is irrelevant. Totally irrelevant! When I am focused on the present moment, it’s impossible to be “swamped”, “overloaded” or “too busy”. Because the task at hand is the task at hand. When it’s done, it’s done. This takes practice. And sometimes I fall off the wagon. But when I get it, it is truly a magical thing. And the best part is, when I’m living in the moment, life unfolds exactly as it should…no matter what.

2) Sleep well. We all have nights when we just can’t shut off our brains. It happened to me just last week, after an exceptionally long day – and I ended up getting about 3 hours sleep that night. It’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep when this happens, but in the really busy times, sleep is the most important thing! Can’t shut your brain off before bedtime? Do something to give yourself a separation from the day. Take a walk. Read a book (non-business!). Watch a silly TV show (last night I watched “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office” before turning in – the perfect antidote to a busy day!). Sit on the porch and enjoy a glass of wine (or tea) with your spouse. Having some wind-down time is essential to a good night’s sleep. 

3) Take a Selfish Break. Turn off the phone, shut down the email and do something just for you. Maybe its writing a blog post, or catching up on some of your news feeds. Maybe it’s playing a few notes on your guitar, or going out to the garden to snap a few pictures. Maybe it’s just sitting for a few minutes, breathing. Whatever it is, you need to cherish your “Me” time in the most busy periods. It’s your sanity break from the rest of the day and will give you the clarity of mind to continue. 

4) Pat Yourself on the Back. Take a look around at all that you have accomplished in your busiest time. In the past two weeks, I’ve met a ton of new people and learned a bunch of new stuff at a Podcamp, co-produced several radio and TV commercials, launched two web sites, and made a ton of new business connections. I’m pretty proud of myself for that. Every now and again you have to take stock of everything you are achieving in your busy life. Be proud, and happy, and grateful for the opportunities. It will give you the motivation you need to keep on going. 

5) Celebrate. Take yourself out to lunch, or dinner. Have a Happy Hour cocktail. Dance around in circles. Do cartwheels. Go for a massage. Celebrate your success at every step, not just when the busyness is complete. Made it to Friday? Yipeee! Inbox = 0? Woo hoo! No phone calls for 2 whole hours? Yahoooeee! Celebrate the small victories. You deserve it!

I know this busy time will end eventually. But right now, I’ve no reason to dwell on that. In fact, I’m actually enjoying the way things are right now. I’m grateful to be on this journey. And I’m open to whatever comes my way. This is what life’s all about, people. Revel in each small bit of it.

5 Responses

  1. Here, here!

    Fantastic take on the busy-times, and how to respond to them!

    Living ‘in-the-moment’ actually helps to promote a stronger, sharper focus on what it is that we are really experiencing and, ultimately, we do a much better job of whatever it is we are busy with.

    I really like your wind-down ideas. You seem to have found the magic recipe.
    Thanks for publishing that recipe for all of us to ‘get-cooking’ and celebrate the busy-times – instead of burning out. (and maybe burning the supper at the SAME time!)

    Great post.

  2. Great post! When my brain remains in gear when I’m trying to get to sleep, I focus on breathing in and out, slower and slower, and sooner that I usually expect it, I’m asleep.

  3. I am glad to see you learned this lesson early in life. My philosophy has always followed the simple rules you mentioned, in particular, trying to slove problems and situations at night when you should be sleeping.
    When trying to go to sleep, and you can’t because of things on your mind, ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about the situation at this moment?” If there is get up and do it, if not learn to turn it off and sleep on it. In many cases you may wake with the answers.
    Worry and stress are killers.

  4. To give credit where credit is due, that last comment, from my Dad – many of the lessons I’ve learned about how to deal with busyness I’ve learned from my parents! Thanks Mom and Dad!

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