Lopsided Living When You’re Busy

Welcome to Day 18 of 31 Ways to Embrace Lopsided Living!

Lopsided Living when you're busy — understanding why you're busy and how to manage it best. Simple suggestions for navigating the busy seasons of life.Yesterday I shared what was, for me at least, a piece of ground-breaking news — busy isn’t always bad. I’m one of those people others may describe as “over-achiever” or “high energy.” It’s not uncommon for people to say, “I don’t know how you do all you do.”

I don’t necessarily think I am any of those things {well, except high energy, I really can be that} but others perceive me that way. And, I’d guess at least a few of you who are reading hear similar descriptions of yourselves. Why?

Well, in short, because we’re busy!

We are doing things and helping people and serving others and managing our homes and working our jobs and listening to our friends and loving our families … and, the truth is, we love doing those things. They matter to us.

So, today, let’s talk about this a little deeper.  How does being busy impact those of us who seek the abundant lives God has for us?

LOPSIDED LIVING WHEN YOU’RE BUSY

We don’t think we’re exceptional or even that we’re doing anything overly amazing. But we are making a difference! One load of laundry, one hour teaching children’s choir, one coffee date with a friend, one movie night with our family — one activity, one task, one moment, one person at a time.

But all those activities, tasks, moments, and people add up. And they become the sum of our days. Remember when we talked about how adding anything affects everything? This becomes even more important during the busy seasons of life. 

When we understand how and why we are busy, we can also determine the most appropriate way to manage the flurry. Generally, there are three reasons we end up busy. Let’s look at each of them and identify the best response.

Lopsided Living when you're busy — understanding why you're busy and how to manage it best. Simple suggestions for navigating the busy seasons of life.

REASON #1: CAN’T SAY NO

In case you aren’t sure, this is the bad busy. It’s the kind that keeps our days full of all the wrong stuff. And worse, it can keep us from being able to say yes to the best opportunities. The problem with this kind of busy is it’s hard to quit. We have to break the habit of saying “yes” when we need to be saying “no.” If you’re like me and that’s easier said than done, let me share my secret,

Response: Delay.

I have learned it’s better not to give an immediate answer when someone asks me to add something to my schedule. So, my standard response is, “Let me pray about this and talk with Scott and I’ll get back with you by ______.”

REASON #2: CONTROL FREAK

I often end up with a slammed schedule because somehow I convince myself I am the only one who can do whatever it is needing done. When I typed that sentence, I rolled my eyes at myself and how ridiculous that all sounds. But it’s the truth. Maybe you are the same?

This kind of busy is frustrating not just for me but also for those around me who want to or could help. Being a control freak holds me captive to my to do list and limits the freedom I feel to be spontaneous. And, refusing to let others help me can limit their opportunities to be a blessing or to learn how to do others things.

Response: Delete and Delegate.

By forcing myself to give up control, I free up space — both on my schedule and in my heart and mind. One of my favorite ways to let go of the control freak in me is to look at my list and eliminate 10%. Seriously. Then I delegate another 10%. Let’s face it, someone else can definitely run the vacuum or do the dishes. I’ve discovered that once I do those two things, I usually can find other tasks that could be deleted or delegated.

REASON #3: CURRENT SEASON

This is where we get to the good kind of busy. It’s when your kids are playing ball and every night for six weeks you’re at practice or a game. You love watching them and being a part of what they love. But the laundry is waaay behind and you McDonalds has become your personal chef.

For us, our busy seasons often revolve around Scott’s job as a worship pastor. Christmas is totally chaotic for everyone on staff at a church. All the normal stuff plus the holiday festivities and special programs and rehearsals can make for very busy Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

We all have those times in our lives when the calendar is just crazy. We can look at them and see there is an end date to the madness. When I’m in one of those seasons, the best response is,

Response: Discern.

By being honest with myself about why it’s crazy and when it will end, I can usually keep from getting totally overwhelmed by the chaos. Over the years, I’ve also learned to prepare ahead when I can see those seasons coming. For example, since I know Christmas is going to be insane, I try to get a few meals prepared and put in the freezer.

Lopsided Living helps us look at the ways our lives shift over time, the way different seasons bring more busy-ness and others allow for more rest. When we embrace this way of thinking, it is easier to manage our days better and not be overwhelmed by the busy seasons.

For today, my challenge to you is this:

DELETE AND DELEGATE!

Even if it’s just one task you delegate to someone else and one thing you move to tomorrow’s list — give it a try and see how this simple way of thinking can help you manage the busy seasons in life.

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Living lopsided,

Teri Lynne

Yesterday’s post: Busy isn’t always bad.

Coming tomorrow: Take care of yourself.

Index to every post in this series here.

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