Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.John Lennon
Sometimes I wish life could pause and go into super slow-motion, like you see in cartoons when someone gets a sugar or energy rush. Or I wish for the earth to stop spinning for a sec, so that I can catch my breath and stop being so busy for a moment.
But that’s just not how things work. The world doesn’t revolve around me and I can’t zoom at the speed of light like a cartoon character, unfortunately. Yet, these thoughts come to mind when I feel extremely busy.
Busy has become a social norm and part of culture. In my earlier blogging days, I wrote a little poem to help myself click out of this part of society’s pattern. In the last phrase, I said, “I’m not that busy to live.” And as I think about that now, it appears we’ve gotten so busy “making a living” that we actually forgot to live. Like Mr. Lennon’s quote, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
There’s another quote I really like and have shared before by Brittany Burgender, who says:
It’s surprising how much free time and productivity you gain when you lose the busyness in your mind.Brittany Burgunder
We fill our calendars, to-do lists, and reminders; download all the apps to simplify our life; but instead of a fulfilling life, you end up with a busy schedule and a cluttered mind.
Overtime, busy becomes your norm. But if you take a moment and mentally zoom out, you’ll realize that you are actually not that busy. You most likely have a lot going on in your head, feel cluttered, which makes you feel scattered and less focused. At least, this is how I get when I am busy making plans, to-do lists, and filling my life with a bottomless pit of tasks.
I often do experiments and challenges for myself to see how to make my life less busy and more fulfilling; and I’ve found 5 ways that really helped my mind get less cluttered and more clear. I truly started feel like I became less busy in every aspect of life.
In the next few minutes, I’m going to show you how I did that. If you turn these practices into daily habits, you will experience clarity in your mind and find a vision for your life. If you already have one, it will just become more clear. You’ll become less busy mentally and more confident daily. You’ll train yourself to find fresh perspectives and live intentionally.
There will always be something going on, but it’s up to you to manage your behavior, perspective, and integrity through it all. It’s up to you un-busy your mind before you can become less busy in life.
Instead of being run by your schedule or tasks, let those things run by you. But first, take control of what seems to control you, clear your head, and:
- Eliminate distractions
- Turn hesitations into positive triggers
- Create daily goals
- Imagine your future-self regularly
- Set yourself up with routines
Let’s talk about each of these individually.
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”― Winston S. Churchill
Declutter what you look at and your mind will begin decluttering on its own.
Start by removing apps on your phone and approach it as a tool instead of an entertainment device. Keep only what’s essential (texting, calling, email, calendar, calculator) and treat it with intention. Delete your social media and unsubscribe from unnecessary emails (anything that sends a notification and triggers everything inside of you to check your phone is a distraction).
Another thing is to remove unhealthy foods from your kitchen, which are interferences to a healthy lifestyle. Eliminate clothes you don’t wear, products you don’t use, paper you don’t need, even pens that don’t work. Eliminate what constantly bombards your subconscious mind and distracts you from doing what you want and need to do – the things that take your attention and dull your creativity.
It will take some time, but if you do this, you will experience freedom in your mind, calendar, and even emotions. What distractions can you eliminate today, or better yet, right now?
Turn Hesitations Into Positive Triggers
Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.Thomas Huxley
Hesitation means a state of doubt or uncertainty.
Turn your hesitation into a positive trigger by acting on whatever it is you’re hesitant about. Whatever you’re doubting or uncertain of doing, do it as fast as you possibly can.
People hesitate when they are afraid to make the wrong decision. But by acting on your hesitation (fear, doubt, uncertainty) you chisel it away each time by acting on it. Of course, have common sense and discernment in every situation. But most often, and especially regarding your goals and ideas, challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
You will become confident in taking risks, making decisions, and sharing ideas. Don’t convince yourself, just act on it. The more often you do this, the less you’ll hesitate. You will have clearer thinking and more confidence. Some of the greatest ideas and inventions came to be because the originator didn’t hesitate.
Again, as soon as you hesitate, take the leap of faith as instantly as you can. Your results will surprise you. And you’ll find yourself less hesitant in every situation.
Create Daily Goals
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”—Andrew Carnegie
Along with your big-picture goals, create smaller daily goals.
Your big dreams and aspirations are important, but what are the daily and weekly goals you can set? View these as stepping stones to get closer to your dream. What can you do today that will help you get closer there? Write them out on sticky notes if you have to. Break them down into steps.
If you don’t know what kind of daily goal to have: start reading. Set reading goals and get after them.
This alone will stimulate your learnability and comprehension skills. As you train yourself to read X amount of books in 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year, you’ll be able to achieve your bigger goals boldly, because your reading goals sharpen your ability to achieve goal after goal after goal.
Setting daily goals will also help you prioritize your day differently. You’ll know what truly needs to get done and what can wait, which leads me to my next point.
Imagine your future-self regularly
Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.Zig Zagler
Make imagining your future self regularly, a daily or weekly goal. (Bi-weekly, if you need to).
- Where do you want to be in 3 months? 1 year, 3, 5, or 10?
- What should you do today to make that happen?
- What would your future self tell you right now?
This will clear your mental state and take you to the next level repeatedly. Proverbs 29:18 says, where there is no vision, the people perish. But he who keeps the law, happy is he.
It’s truly up to you how you lead your life, but God gives us the principles and instructions to make the most of it. So, when we have a clear direction of where we want to be, we’re able to get there quicker because it’s constantly in front of us.
Your picture of your future self will change as time goes on, so by doing this regularly, you’re able to refine and define exactly who and where you want to be in X amount of time.
Your vision helps prioritize daily. It keeps you on course. It motivates and gives you purpose.
Create systematic morning and evening routines
“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”—Norman Vincent Peale
Establish a powerful morning and evening routine. Psalm 127:2 says, It is in vain that you rise early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
By doing this, you set yourself up to be in a peak-state, not in anxious toil and burn-out. Your brain is the most creative in the mornings and the most analytical in the evenings. Therefore, when you create systematic routines, you tell your mind and body what you’re about to do and set yourself up for strategic preparation.
Allow yourself to get ready for the day ahead and learn how to recover from the day before.
It’s vital for your mental health. Start by doing at least 3 of the following:
- Go to bed one hour earlier,
- Turn electronics off 1 hour before bed,
- Analyze your day (journal)
- Learn (read)
- Let yourself think and meditate
Read this blog post to help you establish a successful morning routine.
After you’ve done this, no matter what comes your way, you’ll have a clear and decluttered mind. You’ll have put yourself closer to success, making life more fulfilling. You’ll have put yourself in a place of intentional thinking and living.
Because of these 5, you’ll show up better in life. You’ll be better at what you do and in your relationships. You’ll feel clarity and confidence. You’ll enjoy taking risks and pursuing your goals.
You’ll find purpose and intention in all that you do. And ultimately, you’ll have made yourself less busy because your mind became decluttered.
This is excellent advice! Thanks.
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Oh I’m so glad! Thank you, David!
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