In first post on beating busy I talk about three inescapable realities about busyness. You can read it here. You’re busy; too busy. You’re over-worked, over-stressed, over-scheduled and you don’t know how to get off the crazy train to Busytown. (Maybe you’re the Mayor of Busytown!)
You are why I’m writing this.
I am by no means a productivity expert. Just like you I experience seasons of busyness - some far more crazy than others. I’ve been there. I just exited one of those seasons as a matter of fact. So I’ve been there. I don’t know about you, but don’t want to be fine or busy to describe how I live. I’m just a normal, busy guy like you who’s ready for a change…who’s determined to live the abundant life Jesus promises not by filling his calendar with all kinds of busyness, but by prioritizing my calendar (and life) by what I value most.
You are why I’ve committed a significant amount of time reading, researching, writing, thinking, observing, and creating something I think can help you get off the crazy train on a path that is more sustainable and aligns better with who God made you to be. My hope is to put all of what I’m learning into practical steps to help people like you to overcome busyness.
Today I want to get you thinking about how you actually spend your time. The first step in beating busy begins by acknowledging where you are.
Beating busy doesn’t begin simply with cutting some things out or adding new things to your calendar hoping those tweaks will make your life less busy somehow. You might make some short-term gains, but true and lasting change is a transformative process. Transformation begins with a deep desire for lasting change. So when it comes to beating busyness, you need to see your busyness for what it truly is. To do that we need to rip off the proverbial bandaid to see just how bad the wound is - or in this case, your busyness by tracking what you do each day for several weeks.
Tool: Time diary or time management app (such as TimeLogger)
Exercise: Figure out how you currently spend your time by keeping a time diary for 2-4 weeks. As you log hours in the diary, it might be helpful to designate various activities or blocks of time in to categories, such as:
Once you have completed the Time Diary you should have a clearer picture of how you spend your time. Now that you see how you organize your days you are probably noticing some trends that you like and some trends you’d like to change. Before you make any changes to your daily calendar, remember that this is a process of transformation.
Look at your Time Diary with a critical eye, but not too critical. Can you identify what you want your calendar to actually reflect? What are the values that are most important to you? If you’re binge watching Netflix for 2-3 hours a day (or more), that suggests you value Entertainment. A more negative way to look that that would be to suggest the value of laziness or needing a hobby. So, if Netflix doesn’t add value to your life, then what value do you actually want to see reflected in your calendar? And as a follow-up, what activity, relationship, or margin needs to be built in your calendar instead? These are important questions we need to ask ourselves regularly:
What does my calendar suggest I truly value?
What do I want my calendar to say I value?