“I’m so busy.”

It’s one of the most frequently overused phrases. Newsflash: we’re all busy. Staying busy is “in” and taking it easy is “out.” We wear our hectic schedules around like a badge of honor.

Oh, you think you’re busy? Listen to what I have to do. 

We list all of the tasks we must complete and the places we have to go because God forbid we stay at home for a day and take a break.

why you need to slow down

We need to slow down. We can’t just keep going, going, going and expecting it not to wear us down. Your car doesn’t run without fuel, so why should you?

A packed schedule doesn’t mean progress. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on something if you’re not moving forward. There’s an important concept from a famous economist called the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your time. Make sure you’re making the most of your time, and not just working to work.

Is what you’re filling your time with aligning with your personal goals and values? As well-intentioned as we might be, we’re not perfect. And that means that sometimes our actions don’t match what we say we’re working toward. We talk a lot, but do we mean what we say? You need to ask yourself on a daily basis if you are actively pursuing your goals. 

Similarly, where does “success” fall in your value system? As a society, we place a lot of importance on success. All the major networks broadcast entire evenings dedicated to awarding creative figures for their achievements (i.e. The Grammys, The Oscars, The Tonys, The Emmys, etc). And we are taught to thrive on competition. That’s why most of the United States tunes in to watch the most successful football teams battle it out every February. These values are ingrained in so many aspects of our society. But you have to step back and look at what really matters to you. Are you putting finding success above spending time with friends and family? Are you okay with that?

Everyone needs a little “you time.” This isn’t the time you spend with your best friend. It’s not the time you spend getting drinks with coworkers after a long day. This time is all about you. If you’re not comfortable alone, it’s time to spend more time on your own. It doesn’t have to be long, but even if you have to build it into your schedule, it needs to happen.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be successful. And yes, to be successful you have to put in the time. But remember that success doesn’t equal happiness. There are a lot of talented successful people out there that still feel empty and unfulfilled. So spend more time on what makes you feel whole, and less time on being busy.