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Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy

Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy

Life is full of to-do lists, responsibilities and obligations.  In the midst of these commitments, we try to find spare minutes here and there to do the meaningful things in life, like spending time with our families, learning a new talent or even just relaxing. Unfortunately the meaningful things seem to be put on the back burner when other responsibilities pop up. That’s backwards. The memorable things and important people in our lives should be number one, they should receive a larger portion of our time.

When your life is so full of responsibilities and time requirements you become stressed, angry and unhappy. We have to make time for the more meaningful things in life. We do that by becoming unbusy.

Rule #1: Set Your Priorities

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James

Decide which things in your life are most important. If you are tossing too many things around, make a list of all your responsibilities and the activities and organizations you participate in. Put them in order from the most important to least important. Those that are most important need your time and attention; focus on them.

Making a list like this can be hard; you may feel that everything you do is of extreme value. Be cutthroat. Really evaluate the things in your life. Write down the value that each one has and why you are doing it. You will find that there are some things that aren’t as important as you thought they were.

Rule #2: Get Rid of the Unimportant Things

Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries. – Astrid Alauda

Once you have your list of priorities, it would be best for you to drop those at the bottom of the list or set them aside to do later. There are things that might be important but don’t need your full and immediate attention. If there are things that can wait until later, then do them later. Don’t procrastinate, just manage your time better.

Rule #3: Learn How to Delegate

How do I cope with stress? I clean and organize. – Sandra Lee

The idea that you are the only person out there who can do this specific job the right way is ridiculous. There are always going to be other capable people in your life. Give them a chance to prove to you that they can help. Some people have a hard time relinquishing power to others, but it’s worth it if you can relieve some of the stress you’re carrying.

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Rule #4: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There is no use worrying about things over which you have no control, and if you have control, you can do something about them instead of worrying. – Stanley C. Allyn

When things don’t turn out how you want them to or expected them, don’t let yourself worry about it. You have to be able to accept what happens. Life will throw things at you that you won’t see them coming. Those are the times that you can’t worry about the little things. Take it one step at a time.

On the flip side, when little things go right, acknowledge them and the hard work you put into it. Little victories are still victories. When you let yourself feel proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small they are, you feel better about yourself.

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Rule #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out. – Thema Davis

This can be one of the hardest things for most people, especially when it’s something requested by a friend or family member. You know yourself the best. You know your limits and what pushes you over the edge. Don’t say yes just to please other people. It’s not selfish to think of yourself every once in a while; it’s actually healthy.

While there are stress relieving activities you can do, such as meditation, sometimes it’s not enough. To become unbusy, you should learn to get rid of the stress-causing things in your life. Hope the tips in this article will help you know how to get rid of that unnecessary extra stress.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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