Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A Simple Trick for a Big Problem



Although midterms have become a bit of a distant (and repressed) memory for me since graduating from my undergrad a couple years ago and moving into a graduate program where papers are the fad, I can certainly feel the October craziness around the campus.

The warm days of September seem far away as the cool nights settle in this first week of October. Pumpkin spiced everything can keep us going as the reality of busyness and never ending demands settle in.

Maybe you are not a student, but maybe you can feel the shift.

The ever-changing shift that seems to come with the seasons. There is a different pace that seems to come with fall, perhaps a sense of urgency. It is the feeling that getting behind on the never-ending ‘to-do’ list is not an option and yet keeping up seems impossible.

I know that I am certainly not the only one who battles with busyness.

I am sure that you might be reading this, checking the clock, eyeing your to do list, and giving yourself grief for wasting so much time online. Perhaps you have escaped for the night to Netflix, drowning out the voice telling you what needs to get done in order to get an easy laugh.

We all do it, we all try to escape in some capacity and then allow the guilt trip of what we haven’t accomplished settle in as we go to sleep.

It is beginning to occur to me that perhaps the issue isn’t not doing enough; it is actually trying to do too much.

It is easy to fall into an, ‘I can do it all’ mentality. It feels good when you have accomplished something. It feels great to know others can depend on you. It gives you bragging rights when you can list off everything you have gotten done.

And yet, month after month, year after year, I find myself in the same position of an over-stuffed calendar and a lack of fulfillment. I continue to preach to myself about the danger of busyness as I walk down the same old path, into the too familiar trap.

Can we all just with one exhausted sigh admit that something has to change?

Over the past few weeks I have learned this great little trick that is beginning to show itself to be one of the most empowering things I have ever done. Since I’ve found it so helpful, I thought I would let you in on it...

I’ve actually said no to some things.

Yes, it is shocking. But you know what? People have been okay. The world has gone on. Someone else has filled the place. And the more I say it, the less guilt I have felt over it. That little two letter word has given me some room to breath, own the hours of the day I have been given and allow me to actually begin to give attention to the commitments I do have and am responsible for.

Sometimes saying yes, even with the best intentions, can be thing that stands between where you are now and a fulfilled life. It can be the cutting away, the saying no, the reclaiming of choice you have in your life that creates a bridge from chaos to clarity.

So what do you need to say no to this season?

Perhaps it is the extra commitment, the one off event that someone thinks you would be perfect for, or that extra shift at work. Maybe it is actually saying no to the temptation to disregard your schedule, getting distracted for hours on end or staying up way past your bedtime.


Leave room for yourself. Don’t run so fast that you miss the moments that really matter. Don’t live for next week when you might finally get a break. Let this season of busyness be the last where an overwhelmed spirit has a place in your life.

It's a simple trick to a big problem.

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