On Becoming Un-Busy

Cherry Blossoms 2016

We’re two weeks into Q2. Until last year, I never thought of my year in quadrants, quarters, pieces. My creative side would rather hide from business-speak. As a creative entrepreneur, breaking goals into manageable chunks is important. No I approach the twelve months in 90-day increments. Doing this eases the sense of overwhelm when my plate is full.

Last quarter, I decided (again) that I was juggling too many  balls. I knew I couldn’t keep it up indefinitely. Getting the flu forced me to reevaluate my career and creative priorities. I made a conscious decision to hit pause on my fiction writing. This year my main focus is growing my romance subscription box business Bawdy Bookworms.

Fast forward a few week and once again my plate is laden with possibilities. My fiction writing is calling me-no, yelling for me. I’m the gal at the all-you-can-eat buffet who takes a little bit of everything until her plate is almost completely covered.

I can’t help myself. I want it all. I want my cake and eat it too.

But you know what? Burn out is a bitch.

I’m not burned out yet, but a glance at my next 77 days tells me that I’ll be busy. If I continue at my current pace, I will burn out.

Busyness is glorified in our society. Add that expectation to my perfectionist and overachiever self–that’s asking for trouble. My friend Lisa recently wrote about busyness. She reminded me that the world won’t end if I don’t do everything. (She’s getting over the flu so maybe we all need the flu to shift our priorities?)

Bed with DC printed pillow

The act of becoming “un-busy” requires being realistic about my physical, mental, and emotional limits. It’s hard for me to admit that I can’t do everything. At least I can’t do everything and do them all well.

Trying to make room on my plate for my multiple passions and my children and my marriage. Just reading that makes me tired.

I’ve trained myself to hustle and work hard. Not in school because good grades came easy to me. But when my kids were younger. I mothered during their awake hours and worked my butt off in the evenings when they slept. Now they’re both in school full-time and I don’t need to do that anymore. I’m no longer in flight or fight  mode.

Becoming un-busy is an ongoing process. Every night, I have to give myself permission to relax. To sit on the couch next to my husband and watch tv. Only watch tv. Not work while it becomes background noise. But to be present as I lean against my husband as we laugh and analyze our favorite shows.

This battle is hard won. My inner dialogue goes back and forth. The kids are finally asleep. I can get more work done. Or I should work on my fiction writing. Or, or, or. The possibilities never end. Just because I can do those things, doesn’t mean I should.

That’s how I win my battle. I remind myself, “There will always be more work. Even if I do some tonight, there will be more tomorrow.”

I used to give my husband the same advice about his previous job. Maybe it’s time I take a dose of my own medicine.

Will you join me in becoming “un-busy?”

One Response

  1. Lisa Frame April 13, 2016