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More Lessons for Thriving in your Super Busy World

By Natalie Gahrmann

Many of us barely survive the barrage of competing priorities and conflicting demands on a daily basis. In my last post I shared four lessons learned by my clients. These lessons reflected the importance of monitoring your thoughts, attitude, feelings and beliefs. In this set, you’ll receive five lessons you can act on by taking conscious steps to shift your behavior.

Lesson #1: Do something differently

If what you’re doing isn’t driving the results you want, recognize that it’s time to do something different. Look at every area of your life to honestly evaluate what is and is not working as effectively as it can be. Changes in your life can be made gradually to make them easier to endure or they can be made abruptly to immediately put an end to what’s not working. It’s important to be able to sustain the change over time so that you don’t return to the old habits that were holding you back. Think of this as continuous improvement!

Lesson #2: Get focused

Not being able to focus and deeply concentrate means that your life won't be what it could be. Being focused means giving your full attention to the task at hand, whereas being scattered is attempting to do several things at once, but none of them particularly well. When you can organize and collect your thoughts you can better focus your attention. You stop becoming so easily distracted by TV, emails, instant messages, texts, phone calls or the dictates and demands of your own emotional mind.

Lesson #3: Reduce interruptions & distractions

Distractions and interruptions of any type can be frustrating and time consuming. Apart from the actual time spent on the interruption, it may take time after the interruption for you to regain your original level of concentration and focus. Too many distractions can lead to a loss of productivity and an increasing sense of frustration. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid distractions at work, at least the ones that prevent you from working at your best. Recognize the existing and potential traps and hazards you encounter in an average day so that you can consciously minimize them.

Lesson #4: Enjoy life don’t just get through it

When life is busy everything can feel like another task on the to-do list. We feel like we’re never done! Something as joyous as getting together with friends, playing with our children, watching our favorite movie becomes yet another chore and a possible source of stress. Even when you’re stuck in the grind of working long hours and weekends, seek pleasure in even everyday experiences. For example, appreciate the beauty of nature, live with gratitude for what you have in your life, have simple pleasures to break up your day, connect with people you like to be around, rethink your morning and evening routines, and celebrate your accomplishments.

Lesson #5: Give yourself margins

Margins are basically time buffers that provide an extra cushion in case something takes longer or is bigger than anticipated. Based on the notion that many super busy people fill their lives up to capacity either in terms of energy, finance or time, margins helps you live your life with emotional, physical, financial and time reserves. Margins provide the space you need to breathe and feel less pressure and stress. Some worthwhile examples include trimming your commitments, avoiding over-booking your calendar with appointments and meetings, spending less than you earn and building an emergency fund, setting boundaries, leaving 15 minutes earlier for appointments, under-promising and over-delivering and having enough time for sleep, exercise, relationships and prayer or meditation.