Always. So. Busy. I’ve been hearing that way too often lately. Maybe it’s the rat race in Joburg. Maybe it’s the type of people I surround myself with. Maybe it’s a way for people to make themselves feel important.
When I tell people about my general habits and goals for the week/month/year, they’re always astonished and ask ‘Where do you find the time?!’. My answer generally tends to be that I prioritize efficiently. I thought this would be quite a useful topic to dive into, especially given how ‘busy’ we all are.
In today’s post, I’ll talk about how loving yourself is proportional to your self-discipline, how to stop making excuses for yourself, why you should stop complaining (or bragging) about how busy you are and learning to prioritize your to-do list.
Self-love = self-discipline
Self-love can be a tricky topic for certain people to navigate. It’s not necessarily something we’ve been taught or instinctively know how to do. There are several components to loving yourself, including discipline, vulnerability, compassion and connection.
I’d like to focus only on the concept of self-discipline here and why I think it’s the main ingredient to truly loving yourself. Before we get into that though, let me show you a quote as to why I think this is relevant in the first place:
“We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
When it comes to being disciplined, the most important element is to keep the promises you make to yourself. You need to respect your own commitments. You need to follow through on your goals and habits. You need to be consistent and dedicated. You need to be focused and free from distraction. Not necessarily all the time, but most of the time, and especially when you need to.
This leads back to the quote. When we’re able to do that for ourselves, it allows us to do it better for other people. When people tell me that they’re too busy to incorporate certain habits (that will help them) into their lifestyle, it indicates that they don’t respect or love themselves enough.
Using the ‘I don’t have enough time’ comment is genuinely a pathetic excuse to me. Unless you’re obviously responsible for a lot more than the average person.
So what is it about that excuse that makes us turn to it so quickly? It’s simply the easiest option. It’s almost a no-brainer because it diminishes the guilt that arises when we’re not living out to our full potential.
The incredible thing is, we actually all are really busy these days. Being busy is not necessarily an invalid excuse. Some people are just more efficient at being busy than others. So, before you start complaining about how busy you are and how you don’t have time to breathe, analyse how you spend your time on average every week.
If you’re going to come up with excuses, just make sure they’re valid and backed up with evidence. I’m not asking you to prove anything to me or anyone else, I’m asking you to prove it to yourself. Look at how much time you actually spend at work (or doing work at home), look at how much sleep you’re getting, look at your screen time and how many hours you waste scrolling social media, look at how many hours you invest into Netflix and how many hours you spend on chores / errands.
You can then use that information to support your valid excuses and to get rid of your invalid ones. You’ll be able to use those insights to take actionable steps to free up some time in your ‘incredibly busy schedule’. Slot in some time to read everyday, to work out a little everyday, to spend time with your family / friends, to pray, and to meditate or journal or anything to look after your mental health.
Being busy without evidence is a terrible excuse and we just use it to inflate our egos.
I’m such a busy person, look at how important I am!
The other issue with us trying to be busy all the time? It makes us feel important. It can reach the point where even when we don’t have anything pressing to do, it diminishes the way we feel about ourselves. The solution to that is quite simple. Find an excuse to be busy.
This becomes problematic when we’re trying to put on a show for other people. Acting like we’re always pre-occupied gives us a sense of entitlement and makes use feel significant. When we’re not being authentic to ourselves, we tend to do the same with other people.
Just be conscious of the way the ego plays a role in wanting to put up this front, especially when you find yourself being ‘busy’ with unnecessary activities. So how can we be more efficient in all that busyness?
Efficiently doing your list
When it comes to freeing up time or doing multiple important things in a single day, the key lies in prioritisation. Personally, I like to build up momentum as early as possible. So, I focus first on the simple tasks and what takes up a short amount of time. This allows me to tick off a number of items off my to-do list early on in the day, which frees up more time for the bigger tasks throughout the rest of the day.
Basically, what you want to do is find an ordering system for your to-do list in terms of when to get things done. This will not only help you structure your list better, but it will also help you think of how much time each task will take. Then you can fit in additional hobbies and things you want to do in between.
Momentum here is key. Small consistent wins play a critical role in your mindset. When you start the day off with wins, you tend to flow through with that kind of energy. This is what works specifically for me. See what works best for you and incorporate that into your own system.
I want to leave you with a better understanding of how useless the concept of ‘being busy’ is. We all have the same amount of time, but different amounts of responsibility. Based on your own capacity and schedule, find a way to make it as efficient as possible. Don’t use excuses to invalidate your own growth, unless you’ve genuinely put in the time and effort to think about it.
Life is short. You have enough time. The world is already trying to hold you back, so don’t hold yourself back too. You can do this. You are capable. Keep pushing. Don’t give up.