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21 Reasons Why You Should not be Proud of Being Busy

21 Reasons Why You Should not be Proud of Being Busy

It’s 2015, and you are laser focused. You built a vision board, cleaned your work space, and mapped out your short-term and long-term goals. You’ve got back to back meetings, a new idea for a side hustle, and all types of new ideas. You’re on fire.

Unfortunately, fires aren’t always sustainable. The best ones eventually fizzle out, and if they don’t get the right amount of oxygen and kindling, they become ashes. That shouldn’t happen to you though, and here are 21 ways to keep your busy life from affecting your goals.

1. When you’re busy, you aren’t present.

Life is made up of hundreds of thousands of moments. Some that move us, others that change us, and some that provoke us to action. Being busy takes us away from those moments.

Millennial expert Jullien Gordon has a remedy for this: know the difference between being a workaholic vs. a high performer. The former wants to look more important, but the latter seeks out important work. Knowing the difference can help you do more in each moment of your day.

2. When you’re busy, you opt out of opportunities.

Opportunities are everywhere. They come up in coffee shops, via social media outlets like Twitter, and through mutual connections. When you’re busy, you often miss opportunities because you only see them as distractions, not spaces for you to grow and advance.

3. When you’re busy, you confuse motion for progress.

We all want to do more with what we have. Unfortunately, we think being busy means we are making strides. The Pareto Principle presents another hypothesis which deserves some attention. It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your time. If you are able to figure out what that 20% looks like (and the actions you take to get there), you can create immeasurable leverage. That means you’ll spend more time doing the things that really drive you toward your goals, and not just “things” to fill space.

4. When you’re busy, you don’t prioritize effectively.

Priorities are how we separate the things that we need to do, versus ones that we should. They keep us in line and on track. But when we are too busy, everything seems like it needs to be done. It doesn’t. When you identify what matters versus what can wait, you become efficient with your time, allowing you to do the things you really want to do and with more regularity.

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5. When you’re busy, you make excuses for actual problems.

When we have so much to do, sometimes we can’t focus on problems. That can be productive, but unhealthy. Issues in our lives can only be ignored until they seep into other places where they shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t wait until you’re on the verge of a breakdown to address something that’s hurting you. But when you’re too busy, sometimes that’s the only way to get your own attention. Don’t wait for it to get there.

6. When you’re busy, you’re more prone to multitask (which your brain hates).

How many tabs do you have open right now? I average between six and nine on a good day. That alone damages my brain by 40%. That productivity we so desperately crave is undermined when we do a lot of things at once. That workflow has to stop. It feels great, but it’s terrible for you.

Instead, try a new workflow. Single-tasking is exactly what it sounds like: doing one task, with no distractions. It may take some time to adopt this new type of workflow, but it will do wonders for you in the long term.

7. When you’re busy, you forget to invest in yourself.

You are the most important company you’ll ever work for. In order to keep growing and expanding, it’s imperative that you fight to continue your growth. The internet has become the new library. Ted Talks, Khan Academy, and thousands of other courses are there for you to take advantage of. It doesn’t have to be “traditional” learning either. Taking time to invest in a hobby or side project can help you be better at your job.

Before you say you don’t have time, here’s a better question:

Can you afford to stay the same and still grow?

8. When you’re busy, your vision gets blurry.

Ideally, you’re busy because you are working towards something. A new job, a promotion, financial freedom, or simply trying to change something. It’s hard to remember your “why” for doing what you do. But it’s arguably the most important motivator you’ll ever have.

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That’s exactly what Lo, the founder of Can’t Stay Put, did. Can’t Stay Put is a lifestyle movement built to inspire people to break out of their comfort zones, see the world, and live the lives they only dreamed about. She did that by finding her vision and purpose on a trip to Maui, and hasn’t looked back since. She transformed her life by finding out exactly what she was supposed to be doing.

9. When you’re busy, you forget to love and care for yourself.

Self-love should be non-negotiable in your life. It should be a part of how you remain successful. Taking a vacation or a day off isn’t being lazy or neglecting your responsibilities: it’s a part of remaining in shape holistically, in mind, body, and spirit.

10. When you’re busy, you don’t make time for doing nothing.

The most successful people in the world take time to actively not do things. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner schedules blocks of time that are free periods for him to think, strategize, and refocus. If a CEO can find time, I challenge you to also figure out areas where you can block your own time. If your schedule is preset, try waking up earlier

11. When you’re busy, you equate patience with complacency.

Great things take time and effort. With only a finite amount of time, you can control your effort. Sometimes we think our efforts should put us in a different place immediately. It’s never that simple, though. Being busy creates a myth of perpetual progress: the faster we move, the closer we are getting to our goals, right?

Not always. Your effort, multiplied by your consistency, is what sets you up to capitalize on the moments that are made for you to shine. Patience means you’re not watching the scoreboard, as you’re in the game everyday. Don’t count the number of shots you take, because you only need one to win the game.

12. When you’re busy, you unconsciously sacrifice consistency.

Since being busy isn’t tied to getting work done, its easy to become caught up inside the daily grind. Things change, and the time you had dedicated to gaining a skill or learning something new gets pushed aside. That might appear expedient in the short term, but building that new skill could be the key to taking you or your business to the next level.

13. When you’re busy, you don’t have time to think.

Thinking deeply and clearly is a skill that comes with practice. When we’re busy, we have to deal with floods of information, and often we are responsible for opening the dam. Professor and author Cal Newport describes the benefits of deep work (which requires deep thought) in three ways:

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1. Continuous improvement of the value of your work output.
2. An increase in the total quantity of valuable output you produce.
3. Deeper satisfaction (aka., “passion”) for your work.

Those outcomes are exactly what we try to produce as a result of our productivity

14. When you’re busy, you neglect to set boundaries.

Our world is always-on. Texts, tweets, emails, and status updates. Most of them can be dealt with later, but we choose to take all of them at once. Answering email isn’t your job; its a function of the role you have. If you dont have distinct times when you aren’t doing that, then you can easily be side tracked. If you’re focused, you’re always going to be thinking about your work in some aspect, but you shouldn’t always be available. Know the difference.

15. When you’re busy, you aren’t working to your potential.

Being busy requires a consistent shifting of focus, which takes you away from using concentrated effort to complete the tasks you need too. The Harvard Business Review calls this cumulative attention debt, and it keeps people from generating new ideas and solutions to complex problems. Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert has an insightful quote on how to tell if you’re really living up to where you should be:

“Innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped.”

You can only execute when you have the space to develop ideas. Being busy takes you out of that space.

16. When you’re busy, your friends can quickly become acquaintances.

Friendship is a critical component in how we engage in the world. We need other perspectives and opinions to help shape us, push us, and develop us. But being busy, we often put our friends on the fringes. We’re so busy on the grind that we don’t have time for their counsel or insights. That’s a risky endeavor, as they are sometimes the only people who are able to tell us about ourselves and have it stick. Make time for the people who will tell you the truth, especially when you don’t want to hear it.

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17. When you’re busy, you become emotionally unavailable.

How many times have you tried to be there for someone, but knew only 60% of you was there? The other 40% was scattered around various places, and your mind was racing. Executive coach and charisma expert Olivia Fox Cabane lists three key components for developing higher levels of charisma: power, warmth and presence.

18. When you’re busy, you’re really joining a cult no one ever wants to be in.

Everyone is always doing something, and our culture rewards efficiency, even when it’s not practical nor sustainable. The ‘cult of busy’ is an association that we opt into because of work, the speed of life, and an incessant desire to try and do everything. It taps our relationships, drains us physically, and leaves us confused and looking for answers. Work will always be there, but the connections and moments that we cherish and are intrinsic to our humanity, won’t be.

19. When you’re busy, you forget to dream.

Dreams fuel us. They let us break through our current state, and are the building blocks of desire. Without the dream, your passion and drive won’t be sustained long enough for you to actualize them. Dreaming is what allows seemingly ordinary people to do extraordinary things

20. When you’re busy, you put your health in danger.

Being constantly busy can trigger chronic stress, which leads to a host of issues that aren’t good for your body. It doesn’t have to be that way, especially when you build a routine that prioritizes your health. There are dozens of apps to help you maintain a better regimen and routine. But it’s really about what you want for yourself. If you’re truly serious about doing incredible work, then you will be equally as committed to keeping your body in tune.

21. When you’re busy, you forget your “why”.

Your “why” allows you to achieve and persist under adverse circumstances, when a lot of other people might tap out. It’s what allows you to persevere through crazy work hours in the first place. But you’re not simply a worker. To consistently remember it though, you need to create time to refresh and think about the reason you do what you do.

Having things to do isn’t bad. But busyness without purposefulness is a recipe for burnout and personal dissatisfaction. Make 2015 the year for you to live (or find) your purpose, commitment  to being present, and fight to own your schedule. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth having is. Let’s make 2015 the year we measure the importance of the work we do, instead of how much of our calendars we can fill up. Let’s hold each other accountable and make this year the best we’ve ever had.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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