Top 5 ways to make your ‘busy’ life a fulfilling one

Gone are the days where expensive cars and lavish homes were the ultimate in status symbols —  in 2018 it’s all about your time (or lack of it).

Ask anyone in your circle how they are, and 9 times out of 10 they’ll answer ‘busy’. We wear it like a badge of honour. So much so, that a 2017 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that busyness and overwork, rather than a leisurely life, have become a status symbol.

But with busyness comes exhaustion and stress. So we’ve put together expert advice on how to ‘unbusy’ your life, and start making the actual journey count.

1. Ease the brain strain

Time management expert David Allen is a big believer in getting your ‘to-do’ list out of your head and into action. “People keep stuff in their head. They don’t decide what they need to do about stuff they know they need to do something about,” explains David.

“They waste energy and burn out, allowing their busyness to be driven by what’s latest and loudest, hoping it’s the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is.”

2. Ban the word ‘busy’

Aren’t we all bored with it? Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, suggests getting rid of the term altogether.

“‘I don’t have time’ often means ‘it’s not a priority’,” points out Laura. “If you think about it, that’s really more accurate language … it reminds us that time is a choice.”

3. Make time for what’s important

It may seem obvious, but to be less busy, you need to … do less. Sit down and figure out what’s most important to you, and what you can afford to let go of.

Tim Kasser, a Knox College psychologist, says prioritising your time is important for wellbeing. “It allows us to pursue values and activities like personal growth, personal connections, and our relationship with our broader community.”

4. Learn to say ‘no’

Once you’ve figured out your priorities and where you want to actively spend your time, you’ll need to keep the word ‘no’ in your back-pocket. “Often people say ‘yes’ for fear of disappointing or hurting someone else,” says career coach and speaker, Ashley Stahl.

“The next time you feel caught between wanting to make someone else happy and wanting to make yourself happy, just remember: saying no to whatever they are asking of you is just another way of saying yes to what you truly want to commit yourself to.”

5. Use your time mindfully

Now you’ve made the effort to free up your day —  don’t waste it. Social psychologist Erik Helzer says it’s important to make sure you rest and relax the right way. “In an intentional and rejuvenating way, such as sitting and reading, versus the mindless rest where we end up binge watching TV shows and you get up and say, ‘I can’t believe I just wasted three hours.’”

So ditch the cult of busy and start creating meaningful and interesting moments. Ready for when someone next asks, ‘how are you?’.