My blog is devoted to sharing personal development tools, techniques and tips that will inspire you to create a growth mindset, build resilience and manage your world more effectively.

Nicole's Insights

Feeling overwhelmingly busy can make you feel suffocated and incredibly anxious.

The word “busy” has very interesting connotations associated with it, and quite rightly so.

The feelings we experience following thinking that we are busy; the anxiety and suffocation are, in fact, the emotional response to the thought of having too much to do.

Our emotions are a result of the meaning we place upon the words ‘I’m so busy’, but is it real?

If you share with someone that you are too busy, I can guarantee that it will drive an un-resourceful feeling and sense of pressure.

I am indeed very aware of how ‘busy’ our lives are, we never fully switch off and struggle to allocate ourselves time to recover and bring a sense of calm to our worlds.

The part I find most disturbing is that most people often believe you need to be busy to be successful. So you work those 80 hour weeks, sacrifice friendships and family time and put yourself last. The thing is, it’s almost never true. I’m not saying don’t work hard, I’m saying work smart and use your brain effectively, and you never know, you might work less but achieve more!

Our brains are so intelligent and incredibly powerful but, if I’m honest, we do not use them well.

Our brains will seek evidence to support the story we tell ourselves. For example, if I approach a friend and one of the first things I say to them is that they look really tired. They will suddenly start to be very aware of how tired they’re feeling and will even list (seek evidence for) the reasons why they’re tired….they didn’t sleep well, work has too much going on, they have sooooooo much to do. What is most interesting about this is, in fact, they probably weren’t feeling tired in the first place. They didn’t actually start feeling tired until I said that they looked it,  and they began to believe it.

Knowing the power such simple words could have over someone else’s energy levels, what impact do you think you have on yourself when you say both internally and to others that you’re busy? Imagine what evidence your brains seeks to support that notion?  

The language we use on ourselves and others can both be uplifting and detrimental to our mindsets. Your brain ultimately computes the messages you feed it and outputs an emotion to fulfil your belief. The emotion is a lot harder to manage in comparison to the thoughts, as emotions are a direct by-product of your thoughts, meaning thoughts lead how you feel and the emotions you experience.

So how do we help ourselves feel less busy?

What we won’t be able to necessarily do is stop the number of tasks you have to complete, but what we can learn to do, is change the way we feel about them.
The first step is simple…stop saying to yourself and others that you’re “busy”.
You probably have a to-do list the length of the UK, however it’s not the to-do list that causes the stress, it’s the meaning we place upon it.
Each time you find yourself saying that you’re too busy, you need to stop in your tracks and re-frame the message.
Rather than saying you’re too busy, you might choose to say:
  • ‘I am choosing to prioritise these top 3 tasks’
  • ‘I am approaching each task one at a time’
  • ‘I will achieve a lot today’
  • ‘I can’t commit to supporting you right now, however I can help once I’ve completed x,y,z’ (don’t just say yes to everything)

We have far more control over our thoughts than we realise, we simply need to break the thought pattern we’ve honoured all these years.

It won’t change instantly, and you’ll kick yourself when you catch the words ‘I’m busy’ leaving your mouth.

It takes time to change a habit, so be kind to yourself and recognise that it’s easier for your brain to move towards something rather than away from. Moving towards having energy and feeling in control is far easier to achieve than moving away from feeling busy.

Personally, I’ve worked hard over the years to change the meaning I place on flying. I fly a LOT for work and I’ve never been a great flyer, and for a long time I told everyone about that fear; but all I was doing, was fuelling the fire so to speak. In fact, I’m finding it hard to even write about my fear, just in case my brain catches me out, (ironically, I am writing this article on a flight). Instead, I re-frame my thoughts to ‘I get time for me on a flight’, I can switch off from the outside world, get creative and relax. So now, flying is a treat not a something to fear. Occasionally my brain will attempt to take over, but I’m in far more control than I’ve ever been when it comes to my emotions about flying.

It all begins with the words we say to ourselves and to others.

I challenge you with two tasks this week:

  1. Become consciously aware of the words you say to yourself and CHOOSE a better language pattern
  2. Become consciously aware of the words you say to others and CHOOSE to lift them up rather than damage their thought process and patterns. It will make both you and them feel good.

Connect with me and let me know how you get on!

Love, Nicole.