Becoming Unbusy

A busy life is an unexamined life. It may be full, but it is rarely fulfilling.

Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist

Examine a Busy Life

I am type A, extroverted, ambitious, high-energy, and highly productive. I thrive in all the action and busyness however, there was a point last summer I realized that I had shifted from thriving to surviving. The busyness had crowded out my internal spark, and I was just getting things done. My life was full, but not fulfilling. It was just so busy! Can you relate?

I have noticed how common of a response it is to hear, “busy, busy, busy” or “just surviving” when I asked others how they were doing. I truly wanted to know how they were doing and wondered if we were all content merely surviving one fleeting moment to the next. We were meant for so much more…

“…where does busyness get us? What exactly does it allow us to get done? And how might we be using it as a shield from the deeper work required of us?”

J. Becker

Find Your Purpose

So I became intentional in stopping the glorification of being busy (does that seem like a paradox or what?). I had to plan to not have a plan, to schedule some quiet space to connect with my internal motivation, my purpose for doing all that I was doing.

It was not easy to just quiet my mind or my body. I have spent my whole life “training” to function with high levels of cortisol – our body’s primary stress hormone – in fact, I thrived in the craziness because I get bored easily. But now, my mind and body were telling me to reduce instances of stress so that I could be my best self; not do more so I could be my best self.

That is the difference between intrinsic and external motivation. Being my best self is about thriving in all that I’m doing, not just surviving the day-to-day on the treadmill of life.

Busyness crowds out self-reflection. It keeps our mind and feet always scurrying from one thing to another and never allows us to sit quietly in our thoughts to determine if the next opportunity is even something we should be engaging in.

-J. Becker

Becoming unbusy lowers our cortisol levels and activates our brains so we can engage and elevate our human experience — to be self-aware, understand others, and live and lead well.

5 Practical Ways To Become Unbusy

  1. Unplug – Stop or decrease screen time. Be present with what’s happening in real time around you.
  2. Seek solitude – Spend some time alone. Listen to your own voice, not those all around you.
  3. Journal – Brain Dump. Just write whatever comes to mind to clear your thoughts.
  4. Meditate – Breathe. Just sit and focus on the inhale and exhale — It’s harder than you think!
  5. Move – Take a walk, hit the gym, stretch, play outside, have a dance party… listen to your body and do what it needs.

Try adding one of these habits into your weekly routine for the month of March. Start small. Pick one activity and do it one time this week for 30 minutes. If you are already doing some of these habits, increase the frequency and/or time. 

Then LET ME KNOW how it goes. I’d love to hear what “becoming unbusy” is for you!

Activate Your Brain

By Colorado author, Scott G. Halford

In my above article, I talk about “becoming unbusy” to lower the cortisol levels in our mind + body. This book addresses the neuroscience behind managing our stress hormone levels with practical exercises.

Combining research, anecdote, and inspiration, Activate Your Brain shows you how small steps toward better brain function and management can eventually lead to success on a whole new level. Each chapter offers “Activations”—exercises that help optimize your brain function to…increase your focus, build self-confidence and willpower, manage distractions, reduce negative stress, collaborate effectively with others, and much more.


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