As discussed in Conscious Entrapment, there seems to be a common theme of ‘too busy’ in many lives, so let’s get more practical about making conscious schedule choices. Making conscious choices starts with identifying the decision criteria you use when filling your calendar. How do you decide what goes on your calendar?
When I decided I wanted to escape the ‘too busy’ trap, I looked first to see what decision criteria I was using when I committed my time. I realized the only criteria I seemed to have was ‘not busy’. If my calendar was open, I felt said ‘yes’. I don’t think I am alone. I’ve heard people say things similar to “I didn’t really want to be on that committee, but my Wednesday nights are free so I had no excuse.” No wonder we feel busy and overwhelmed if our only decision criteria is ‘not already busy’.
The only way for me to stop being ‘too busy’ was to say ‘no’ to some things, and that’s not easy or comfortable. I had said ‘yes’ to everything for years. I knew I needed to create a new way of dealing with ‘schedule opportunities,’ so I inserted a decision delay. If I saw something and thought I wanted to do it, I committed to making the decision later instead of in the moment. If the request came from someone else, I committed to saying “I need to check my schedule. Can I get back to you tomorrow”? For all new calendar items, I made decisions consciously. I made choices on the basis of what best fit where I wanted my life to go instead of the basis of ‘should’. It took a while but I developed new scheduling habits.
Obviously what I did won’t work for everyone. I share the story in order to give an example of identifying and changing decision criteria as needed. Making decisions more consciously is a journey. You won’t fix your ‘too busy’ problem if you don’t start. There are many options. You could choose to schedule ‘free time’ on your calendar, or you might schedule something in that you long to do but are too busy to do (e.g. painting).
Choose something you think might work, and then choose how to implement it. Don’t worry if you don’t have a big vision for your life. If you know that you don’t want to continue to be too busy, tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, then start by being ‘not as busy’. Just start!