Time’s Up: Busyness & Balance | Darling Magazine

Time’s up! There just aren’t enough hours in the day! At what point did we accept, or even worse begin to justify, our false conviction that we need more time. There has always been twenty-four hours in the day—and we can be rather certain this won’t change. The more I consider this simple fact, the more I am convinced: we were never intended to carry out more in a day then the hours we are given.

If you are burning the candle at both ends, it’s essential to determine how much of your busyness is self-inflicted; and to examine to what degree you allow vocational demands, self-imposed ambitions, or social expectations to influence how you live your life. Do these pressures decide your work-life balance, or sanction a life excessively full of unrewarding activity? Or perhaps you unknowingly use busyness to rationalize internal stressors and issues.

You are emphatically not alone if you are a woman who thinks you are always too busy. However, when last did you consider the connection between this and a deeper problem, such as taking on too much, time mismanagement, or disorganization? It seems as though the masses have succumbed to the belief that being busy means we are still in the game, so to speak. A number on your chest in the rat-race of life has become a mark of importance, or perhaps more realistically, of self-importance. Thus, busyness can be a red flag which signals wrong perceptions or unhealthy mindsets.

The pride we take in our hectic schedules and sleepless nights is not a new phenomenon. “Sleep is for wimps!” The “Iron Lady” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher coined this phrase, boasting to need only four hours of sleep a night. Is it true we women can get by on such little sleep? You wish! On the contrary, the National Sleep Foundation says that sleeping an average of less than seven hours (or more than 9 hours) may well be linked to health risks. There you have it—enough is enough! Most of us know the link between a healthy lifestyle and adequate sleep, yet you hear many women claiming to get much less sleep than what we feel our bodies need. And when we take a look at our waking hours, we see other ways in which we cheat ourselves with time misdemeanors.

Could our tiring schedules be our own fault? Every coffee date, every commitment, and every weekend away is our own decision to make. Our fast-paced contemporary culture doesn’t seem to want to slow down. We have been programmed to multi-task, buzz around, and stay connected 24-7, despite the observable link between busyness and stress. Whether or not it is stress—which becomes debilitating or stress which allows you to thrive—it’s still stress! Rather than viewing busyness and stress as a dysfunctional state, our culture has programmed us to recognize a frenzied existence as a sign of success. The basis for many of us being so busy seems to be our acceptance of this being a societal norm.

An underlying question remains: do any of us know how not to be busy anymore? We marvel at the women today who seemingly do it all, yet find regular gaps in their agenda to do nothing—at least once in a while. Even more, we wonder why we weren’t given the secret recipe.

Do you want to lead a successful and balanced lifestyle? My guess is yes. Success is generally seen as a positive outcome to something we’ve attempted. And a balanced life can be evaluated as one in which our spiritual wellbeing, mental and emotional needs, and physical health (through exercise, food and nutrition) are adequately fed. Let me suggest something new. A lifestyle comprising of admirable work ethic, healthful eating, plentiful exercise, ample sleep—all the while leaving abundant time to engage in fun activities and a display of love and care for your family, friends and the community—and still enough time to feed your own soul and spirit—this is success for the modern woman!

But how do we measure our success without tangible goals? Here’s an easy answer: we cannot! So scrap everything you’ve ever learned about the key to success, and first brainstorm what goals you have for each of these areas in order to nourish your soul, your body and your mind. Once we’ve clarified our objective, how do we set-out to overcome our inner misery of stress and busyness? Here are some things to remember:

Stay true to your word. What we say with our mouths will impact our perception, thoughts and emotions. So Darling reader, it begins with us. We need to stop moaning about being too busy all the time!

Identify what is genuinely stealing from our time and energy. Is it worry? Unhealthy habits? A lack of boundaries? All of these have something in common—they drain our energy unnecessarily; but we can overcome each one.

Define your values. Are you living your values, and does how you spend your time echo these values to the world?

Stay tuned for part two, which will address goals, efficiency and time management…

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