10 things you (and I) need to quit doing so we can stop the busy

Oh, yeah. We want to stop the busy. We all want to stop the busy. We have quite the love-hate relationship with the IMG_4025busy. But there’s so much to do to stop the busy, we just don’t know where to start. So here it is – the list – the starter list- of things that you and I need to quit doing so we can stop the busy. Are you ready to stop the busy? Then just stop:

10. Stuff hoarding. Oh, yeah, we need to cut the clutter. And if you have battery powered toys you know exactly how this happens. The most favorite Buzz Lightyear toy needs a new battery immediately before eternal, heart wrenching, small child despair sets in. Of course, since it’s a child’s toy, you have to use a screwdriver to open the battery compartment in order to change the batteries. No big deal, right? Well, the screw driver you keep handy in the house for just such a purpose is not where it’s supposed to be. So you start looking. You dig through the junk drawer, looking for that pesky screwdriver. You find some legos, those are easy to put away. You dig through rubber bands, and old stamps, and I don’t know what the heck that thing is to save my life, and some half-chewed book marks, a stick of gum, and a pile of other things that you’re not really sure what to do with. All you know is that there is no screwdriver to be found. So you pile the stuff back in so that you can spend 20 minutes digging through it the next time you need something, and head to the garage. Same scenario, this time, with bigger stuff. Finally, you find the aforementioned screwdriver in the bottom of a box of really old recycling and head back to the house to open up Buzz’s battery compartment. Oh, it needs C batteries. Where are those pesky C batteries? And the search begins again. What should have been a 5 minute chore took an hour because, well, there was just too much stuff in the way. Stuff wastes time. Cut the clutter. Have less stuff. Have more time. Be ruthless. It will stop the busy.

IMG_06569. Washing stuff twice. This. This is the thing that kills me. You know, when the kids rifle through their drawers, only to wear something for 5 minutes and then throw it in the laundry. Perfectly clean practically unworn clothes tossed haphazardly into the dirty hamper. And then it’s heaped in with sweaty sweatshirts and smelly pants and that comforter that is, for some ridiculous and unknown reason, smeared with an entire jar full of peanut butter and jelly. And so we wash the same clothes again, And again. And again. I suppose less choices would lead to less dirty clothes…. whatever the solution, one must be found because we must stop the busy.

8. Wasting food. Toddlers are the ultimate food wasters. Take a bite, run away from the table. Take a bite, dump the food on the floor. Take a bite, pour water in it. Finally, take a bit off of the floor. Spit it out. Because food on the floor is yucky. Then there are the grownup variety of food wasters, too – how many science experiments are growing in your refrigerator at any given time? I’d say there are about 7 in mine. Why? Because the fridge is stuffed full to the brim and I can’t find what I want so I don’t serve the leftovers that I planned to have for dinner today. Instead, I cook something new, or worse, hit the drive through –  losing time and money and everything else that’s still in the fridge turns green and I’m afraid to look at it so I let it be. That was food?

7. Paying bills late. Because late fees cost us money! See number 6.

6. Wasting money. Because, like it or not, sometimes time is money. If you waste your money, you’ll need to make more money. The more time you have to spend on making more money, the busier you are. But I thought you really wanted to stop the busy?

5. Multi-tasking. When you try to do too many things at once, you don’t do them well. Slow down and just take oneIMG_5692 thing at a time. Because otherwise, I burn the toast, wrinkle the clothes, trip on the cat, spill the coffee, slip on the floor and bruise my pride and my backside, so of course then I forget the errand I was supposed to run, and somehow feel like I am soooo busy and not really getting anything done.

4. Dealing with stuff twice. As soon as you get the mail, throw the junk away. When you get a receipt, ditch or file it, don’t save it for later. Don’t go through the kids backpacks until your ready to do the backpacks. Otherwise, papers just float around the house, get lost, or chewed on by the dog. Or a small child. Wait until you’re ready to manage it all, start to finish. If you use something, put it away. If you spill, clean it up. If you start it, complete it. Then you can have it be finished and forget it, rather than meandering around with it in your brain where other, much more important stuff should be residing. Like stuff that will help you pay your bills on time so you can be less busy.

3. Complaining. Don’t complain! It will make difficult stuff even worse when you ruminate on it. Instead, face it head on, as cheerfully as possible. Wasting time being miserable is just wasting time.

2. Living on Facebook. Facebook is a great tool, but somehow this tool creeps in and starts to run our lives for us. Turn it off. Delete it from your phone. Log out. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself from constantly checking it. Set aside a few minutes specifically for enjoying Facebook, but only if that’s true – if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Facebook is known to cause depression, and if it’s hurting you in this way, or its sucking up too much of your precious time, just put it away.

1. Checking your phone. How many precious seconds do we waste checking our phones? Some studies say that the average American adult checks their smart phone over 200 times per day. If that only happens during the 16 hours you’re supposed to be awake, that’s about 12 or so times per hour. That’s once every 5 minutes. Your phone is a more frequent interruption than your kids! Turn off the notifications and limit the time you spend checking them. Chances are, you’re doing it out of habit and not because you really need or want to. You’ll feel less scattered and more able to concentrate and you’ll be far more productive by limiting yourself. Better productivity means you’re wasting less time and you’re accomplishing more – which adds up to less busy!IMG_0827 - Copy

Do you really want to stop the busy? Stop doing these things! And stop doing other things that cause us to be busy for no good reason. Just stop the busy.

Which one will you start stopping today?