What if less busy isn’t an option?

Feeling too busy? Overwhelmed? Drowning in to-do lists? You’re not alone. We’re so busy it’s become an epidemic, and it shows no signs of letting up.

Our Sweat Pink book club read Present over Perfect recently, and it inspired some really productive discussions around how we can all make more space for being present, and cutting out the things in our lives that don’t serve us—including everything from pesky clients to unmatched dishes (seriously).

In the book, and elsewhere out in the world, there are a lot of arguments out there for doing less. Those are great ideas. They’re also not always feasible: being able to scale back is a privilege, and sometimes in the pursuit of goals we might consciously decide to ramp up into full-on busy mode for a period of time. Whether by necessity or choice, if you’re hustling to put food on your table, survive your graduate program while single parenting, or achieve some audacious fitness goal, sometimes you just have to embrace the suck and power through.

Surely there’s a compromise buried in here: a way to navigate that middle ground between a completely intentional life and the reality that many of us find ourselves in. If you find yourself always scattered and hectic, chasing every last deliverable and to-do item, try these strategies for getting more done, with less time.


Focus on one thing

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Just like building up to a fitness goal—running a marathon, losing weight, doing a handstand—success with any kind of goal doesn’t happen overnight. Reaching that goal is a result of small daily actions that compound over time.

There’s one important thing about all this working, hustling, striving, and achieving more: You can’t do everything at the same time … Instead, it’s much more effective to focus your effort on one thing.

Darius Foroux

Focusing on one thing, and working toward it daily, is a surefire way to reach success, but you have to be in it for the long haul, and you have to be patient.


Be in it for the results

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Whatever it is you’re working toward, keep an eye on the end game. Will your current efforts translate into real results for your goal? If not, leave it behind.


Get comfortable with saying NO

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For years and years I have been a yes person. I like saying yes. Without yes, there are so many lifechanging experiences I would have missed out on.

But yes isn’t always the answer. Defaulting to yes means I often underestimate the amount of time required for a project, and overestimate my own ability to fit it in.

Saying NO is something I’m consciously working on, especially if the request isn’t aiding in my long-term goals.

Need help focusing? Try this for extra mental clarity and focus.

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Comments

  1. Nicci Randall
    Nicci Randall

    No definitely needs to be added back to my vocab :-). The one thing at a time approach – so simple, so true, so effective.

  2. Esther

    So good! I’ve literally been making plans on my days off to get rid of stuff and say NO to other things!
    Loving the book discussion!

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