Is it time for a Busy Boycott?
A few weeks ago I was asked what I want to bring to the world through my business.
The answer came to me in a heartbeat. Here’s what I said:
"I want to see an end to busyness as a badge of honour."
I used to be the person who always answered, “how are you?” with “busy”. I’ve also spent years surrounded by colleagues who were terrified of anyone finding out if they weren’t busy.
What is this obsession with being busy?
Is it that we believe that the busier we are, the more worthy we are?
Are we waiting for permission to stop?
Today I'd like to share an invitation from my friend Courtney Carver to take part in a Busy Boycott.
The excerpt below is taken from Courtney’s new and inspiring book, titled Soulful Simplicity, How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More. In it, she shares her story in moving from a stressful, cluttered, busy life that led to a devastating diagnosis to a life with better health, more space, time, and love.
Each section of the book is packed with practical suggestions to help you find soulful simplicity, but today let’s focus on our obsession with busyness. I'll hand you over to Courtney...
The Busy Boycott—a Twenty-one-day Challenge to Help You Slow Down
Busyness has become more pervasive than clutter in complicating our lives. We have plenty of decluttering strategies, but what should we do about our busy lives?
I’d like to suggest a busy boycott. You might not think you have time for a revolution right now, but if you ever want time for a life that matters, this is the right time to revolt.
Try the following twenty-one-day challenge and practice each of these three simple steps for seven days each.
1. Stop talking about it. (Days one–seven)
For all that is good and holy, let’s stop telling each other how busy we are. Perhaps, if we can physically remove the word busy from the conversation, we can stop thinking about it so much. When you tell someone how busy you are, you remind yourself too. You might feel busier than you actually are. Not only that, but often “I’m so busy” comes across as “I’m too busy for you.”
For the next seven days, ban the word busy from your vocabulary. This may be more challenging than you think. When you catch yourself mid-sentence using the word busy, use it as an opportunity to change your response and the conversation.
Tip: Avoid hearing the word busy by asking better questions. Instead of “How are you?” try “What made you smile today?” My daughter often asks, “Did anything interesting happen today?” By changing the questions and conversation, you open up space for connection.
2. Do less. (Days eight–fourteen)
Instead of searching for more efficient ways to do it all, do less. Say no, and protect your time for what matters most to you. Work with people who want your best, not your busiest. Stop comparing your lists, your life, and your love.
Every day for the next seven days, eliminate one thing from your calendar or to-do list. Don’t postpone it, let it go. If you are really worried about missing something, write it down and put it in an envelope. If you don’t miss it or even remember it at the end of the week, toss the envelope.
Tip: Know your strengths. What do you do best? What can you delegate or release completely?
3. Linger longer. (Days fifteen–twenty-one)
A busy life says, “Hurry up! You’re falling behind. Do more!” A slow one says, “You can stop now. It’s okay to be still and listen to your soul or stop to say a prayer in the warmth of the sunshine.” There is no guilt in self-care, and no shame in lingering or waking up slowly.
Slowing down supports your commitment to create and protect your newfound time and space. Savor good food, conversation, and beautiful views. Fall in love. Smile. Breathe. Then, fall in love again.
Tip: Lose the guilt. Instead of thinking about the opposite of busyness as laziness, consider that the opposite of a busy life is a full, intentional life.
If busyness has compromised your health, relationships, or work or if it has silenced your soul, take action with a busy boycott. With more demands on our time, the advances in modern-day technology, and our desire to be seen, accomplished, and important, the pressure is on to do more with less. Instead, join me, boycott busy and be more with less.
Excerpted from SOULFUL SIMPLICITY: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver with the permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright© 2017 by Courtney Carver
I’d really love to know your thoughts on this one! Will you be giving Courtney’s Busy Boycott a go?
If you’d like some accountability and the support of a community of like-minded people, come on over to my Facebook group and maybe we could try it together.
And if there’s someone in your life who might benefit from a Busy Boycott, please do pass this on!
I’ve been following Courtney’s Be More With Less blog for a few years now and her insights have most definitely influenced how I approach my work. Productivity shouldn’t be about cramming in more, more, more until we’re so busy that we break. It should be about developing good habits so that you can create space for what’s important.
I’m so thrilled to be working with Courtney as Member Services Ambassador for her course A Simple Year 2018, accompanying 1000+ people on their journey to simplify all areas of their lives. Such a privilege and a joy!
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