Keeping oneself busy is probably the most important value of our time. Busyness surpasses religion, materialism, individualism, and even social media presence. It seems that being busy, busyness (business), gives us respectable status and signals effectiveness.

For many years, I also fooled myself to be stressed out about my output until I realized that I just simply didn’t have to be busy.

Look, I know the statement above might seem like another cheap woo-woo-NLP mind trick, but refusing to be busy really worked for me without having to compromise my productivity even the tiniest fraction. As a matter of fact, I got more productive and content as the busyness stopped.

If you also want to stop being busy, you might want to give the 10 points below a try.

1. Breathe

As basic as it gets, breathing is the only real urgent and on going process in our lives. In all its urgency, it can also relieve the sensation of urgency.

While simple, intuitive and shallow breathing alone will take you most likely pretty far, mastering how to breathe right will gain you control over the stress levels and sense of urgency, no matter what the situation is.

All in all, articles and books about breathing could easily stock a library, but keeping it simple, in the event of excess stimuli or if you just want to calm down, inhale deep, but in about half (eg. 4 sec) the time you exhale (about 8 sec).

2. Clear to-do from waste

Look at your to-do list (granted, you keep a list of to-do’s in the first place!) and cross out all of those tasks that are not backed by your values. There are no universally right values, so if, for example, vanity happens to be one, you need to serve that value and act accordingly.

3. Set clear objectives for working

Set clear goals for the day that are derived from what you have planned for the entire week and/or month rolling down from 3 month, yearly plans, and longer term plans. Not only will a plan help you get things done, but plans will also take you where you want to go. Clarity over to-do increases locus of control and let’s you feel less busy.

4. Get sh*t done. Don’t procrastinate.

Well planned if half done -but remember, only half! As planning helps so much in all the different ways, fulfillment comes from actually completing something. No excuses, just start delivering and manage your task backlog wisely. Only very seldom makes it sense to procrastinate, so don’t make lousy excuses for yourself.

Having already crossed out all unnecessary task right from the top and having your hands on the actual to-do, refrain from excess quality and attack the tricky tasks with zeal.

At the end of the day, look at all the things you have done, appreciate your achievements, and start priming yourself for yet another rear-end-kicking day ahead. Sense of progress and achievement also boosts locus of control.

5. Guard your time. Be selfish if necessary.

Time is our most important asset. Even the almost almighty money cannot touch it, so treat it accordingly. Life is too short for garbage entertainment, bad books or lousy music. The only one to keep yourself from being exploited is you. Less is more.

6. Get rid of clutter

Clean table tops, roomy closets, organized cabinets, and simple wardrobe will  make your day to day life easier in so many ways. While you don’t have to spend so much time getting with and by indifferent stuff, less clutter around also spares your decision making capacity for the important stuff.

While aiming at minimalism, you’ll find a lot less craving for sugar too. This is about reaching clarity over a busy mental landscape.

7. Stay off sugar

Sugar is probably one of the most addictive but also lethal substances. Despite its dangers, we are bathed in sugar partially to sooth our stressed out, depleted ego.

Yes, sugar apparently restores a depleted ego, but as the sugar rush ends, you’ll find yourself worse off than before topping up your glucose levels. In desperate need of sugar, opt for fruit as there is also fiber to level the rush.

8. Meditate

This article alone packs a whopping 76 scientific benefits of meditation, so it might be a little daring to dismiss the potential of meditation.

Some might think meditation requires dissolved bones to reach out-of-this-world zen-master yoga poses and ability to levitate, but it’s nothing like that. Again; breathe. Be mindful. This is the part where you don’t have to perform! Allow also negative feelings to emerge. Zen over haste.

9. Sleep

Sleep deprivation will take you to your final rest early. Life is also quite simply a bore when you are tired as sleep deprivation reduces so many aspects of your physical and mental health.

Eating too late, too much and too heavy/sugary will destroy your sleep. In addition to bad eating habits, consumption of alcohol in the evening, even by modest quantities also prevents you from reaching the deeper phases of sleep.

In order to facilitate good sleep, go to bed early and leave all digital devices out from your bedroom – or at least vicinity of the bed. Really, stay off that blue light! Internet will wait for you until the morning.

10. Smile

Let go of that frown on your face, replace it with a smile and see how everything changes, not only inside you but also around you.

On a universal scale, as you will be most likely totally forgotten in 100 years time, you might as well relieve yourself from all the pressure that it was all about you. Don’t take life so personally. Just enjoy this short period of insignificance and enrich everyone crossing your path. We are already there.

Do you think I missed something essential?

If not, goodbye busyness. Hasta nunca.

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