Easy Ways To Stop Being So Busy

not as busy“There aren’t enough hours in the day.”

“So much to do, so little time.”

Sound familiar?

Danielle LaPorte said it better than I can: We know you’re busy. Now shut up about it.

That goes for me, too. Everyone fills up the hours in the day. Why? Because we’re all trying to build a life that means something. We’re all trying to get amazing stuff done. This often leads to doing a lot of good work and not enough great work.

Somewhere along the paths of our stressful careers, we join a networking group, sell Mary Kay and sign both kids up for soccer. Then we plant our families in a soccer field, watching kids kick balls and scream, followed by a snack from a cellophane bag and plastic juice pack, followed by a cheap frozen pizza when we get home.

Yes, this is what it looks like to be busy.

And it’s not in a good way. Busy like this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

When we started the 80 Day Project to write our own life, I have to tell you: four nights of soccer didn’t make the cut. Yes, we’re still busy and on the go. But where fast food and shin guards might have been is a nutritious, homecooked meal. Followed by everyone pitching in to clean up. Followed by relaxation of choice, a life less planned.

Sound like a couple of parents too lazy to sign up for four nights of soccer? Heck yeah! And in between the lines, I’d like my kids to see:

  • Life is better when savored.
  • Slow down.
  • Take time to catch your breath.
  • Peacefulness cannot be found on a soccer field (well, that could be debated I’m sure).

Feeling too busy? Feeling fed up with it?

Reread the list above. Then, try these:

My friend remarked a couple weeks ago: “You’re always so busy!”

I stopped to think … wow, it’s been a long time since I said that.

The truth is: There’s a difference between living a full life and living a busy life.

A full life is more deliberate, more in line with what we desire. It gets jam-packed with amazing work and your favorite things.

Back to that no-good busy feeling.

Sorry, there will never be more hours in a day. So figure out now: What satisfies you?

What makes life full and meaningful?

It’s up to you to answer that. You really can do the things that matter most, but no one else will hold your hand through it. I decided: life’s too short to be busy.

The choice is yours.

If my writing helps or inspires you, please share it with other people. This is the number one way you can support my writing. xoxo Melissa

Photo by dlemieux

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.


1 Jen May 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

I’ll argue that peace can be found on a soccer field! LOL

Throughout my childhood, I spent an increasing number of nights after school and homework at a dance studio, then I added Saturdays. By high school, a solid 10 hours a week were spent at that studio. We were busy. However, that dance studio was the only place I felt peaceful. Whole. Satisfied. Calm. No matter what was going on in my life — looming deadlines on research papers, boys who didn’t like me, fights with friends or parents, depression — it all faded away when I walked through those studio doors. That was my full life.

I completely agree with everything you wrote in this post, but I’d like to share the perspective that your kids maybe can only really “slow down” on that field.

2 Melissa Gorzelanczyk May 6, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hi Jen – I knew there would be some soccer supporters out there! haha

But truthfully, I do agree with you – a full life is very relative for all. I really wanted to share my personal story of feeling too busy (AKA stressed and overwhelmed as one of the family leaders … it was NOT good for the whole family) and how we are defining what it means to be full.

I’m not totally ruling out soccer, either. It was just something we needed to take a break from and I’m really glad we did.

Thanks for stopping by. I liked the vision of the dance studio …

3 Matthew May 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

The difference between having a full life and a busy life is an interesting revelation. I think everybody including myself needs to take a moment to evaluate what that is. Thanks Melissa for another I opening post( pun intended).

4 Melissa May 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Hey Matt, thanks for that awesome comment of support. We are still evaluating and figuring out what makes a full life … different for everyone but the desire is the same.

5 Satya May 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Yeah — loved that article from Danielle.
Taking a stand to take a breath — that’s actually revolutionary 🙂

– creating the space to actually claim the life you envision. Then taking the steps to do it. Life IS overwhelming at times, but the space to claim your truth is my ticket to f r e e d o m

6 Melissa May 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Danielle is awesome.

Freedom is awesome, too. I want everyone to be free. xoxo

7 Tammy Strobel May 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

Great article Melissa! And so true.

I love Danielle’s work. She is such a rock star. 🙂

8 Melissa May 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Hi Tammy – Thanks for stopping by. She IS a rock star. And so are you.

9 Katie May 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm

You’re so right about having a full life vs. a busy life. I get that too. “How do you do so much?” and yet here I sit on a Friday night, alone, reading something meaningful, writing and looking out at my garden. Life’s good when it’s full. Love your blog. I found it as part of the A-list blogger club (of which I am a newbie too). Visit mine (it’s really new) if you get a chance. I think you’d like it.

Peace, Katie

10 Melissa May 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hi Katie – Welcome and I’m so glad to meet you. I subscribed and left a comment on your blog. REALLY good stuff – readers, check it out!

I am also alone (for a short time) on a Friday night, filling my life with exactly what I want – a peaceful end to the week and doing some amazing work.

xoxo Melissa

11 Robin Lynn Brooks May 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Loving the link-love here! 🙂 Also reading these words stopped me in my tracks: “This often leads to doing a lot of good work and not enough great work.” Right-on and a wonderful timely reminder.

12 Melissa May 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hi Robin – Thanks for the love and for sharing how the words affected you. In fact, reading your comment was just the right time for ME to be reminded of the words. So thanks. 😉

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