Too busy > Time poverty > Consequences

Is your busyness making you happy and satisfied?

When I was young I actually thought that improvements in technology would result in shorter working days and more leisure time. “Imagine having to decide what to do with all that spare time, I used to say:) Was it but a dream……!

A few weeks ago a neighbour’s grandchild asked if he could come over to my house and see my pets (we have 8 chickens, 2 cats, 2 dogs and 3 turtles). As I delightedly said “of course, come and have a play”…….. his grandmother quickly replied, “don’t ask Annie that, she is a very busy woman, she doesn’t have time to entertain you”. I was stunned, its a sad day when you cant give up 10 minutes to make a small child happy by hugging a chook or patting a dog.

This week, I have noticed people preface asking me to do something with “I assume you are a very busy lady so if you can spare a few minutes I would like to meet with you and discuss ………

Seriously, where is this perception coming from? I am not too busy to do my work, mentor colleagues or be there for family and friends and I pride myself on being approachable and available. Is this time poverty mindset coming from the way modern society values and uses time? If ‘time is money’ and ‘achievement is the goal’, then wasting, saving or using time profitably becomes the focus. As society becomes more affluent and incomes rise, everyone’s time becomes more valuable and therefore more scarce. I thought this was an interesting concept to ponder.

For some weird reason we are all now busier than ever, so busy we forget or simply don’t get around to evaluate the previous project, strategically plan for the next opportunity, phone our mum, catch up with a ‘best friend’, get the shopping, fix the leaky tap, exercise, rest, read a book, get a hair cut, eat, sleep, dream, holiday…. how is this possible when we are living in the most efficient time in history.

I reflect back on modern day benefits my grannys didn’t have.

  • Internet shopping delivered to the door – Sweet!
  • Social media +++ ensuring I know everything as it happens – I’m living in the moment and don’t miss a spec of relevant and irrelevant information
  • Transportation when I need it – Even parking at home and at the office
  • A computer full of time saving programs and a mysterious cloud which stores and syncs all of my information to be available at a moments notice
  • Unlimited global research about absolutely anything, anyone and anywhere

Now strangely enough Granny never looked busy or even mentioned that she was busy even though she washed her clothes by hand, personally cooked all the food she consumed, walked a few kilometres to visit us twice a week, raised 3 kids, worked full-time as an accountant, volunteered at the local church and had lengthy conversations with all of her friends and neighbours on a weekly basis.

Don’t let a time poverty mindset stop you from achieving the things that matter.

Considering we still have the same 24 hours in a day, why does everybody everywhere seem too busy? The goal of work-life balance is the new seemingly impossible dream. Have we all simply traded and added to our ‘To Do List’ and is it better or worse?

A few years ago I decided to write down how I spent my time for an entire week and it changed my life. I encourage you to do the same as it was quite enlightening.

How many hours do you spend each week on:

  • Paid work
  • Unpaid work (at work, at home, volunteering)
  • Commuting
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Rest
  • Socialising
  • Personal time
  • Family time
  • Study / Research
  • Other……

If you are a multi-tasker e.g checking emails and social media while playing with your kids, now reassess your list above and shift the hours to their correct location.

A week affords you have 168 hours to positively or negatively spend. Let’s say you spend 56 hrs sleeping and 40hrs working (I know a dream), what have you done with the other 72 hrs? Are you happy with your list? Does it make you satisfied? Will it lead to future goals, hopes and dreams? What changes would you make if you could and why? What are the consequences of not making those changes? What’s holding you back?

Work-life balance is not a dream, it’s largely a choice. Every person’s choices are different as our core values, needs, passions, wants, skills and finances vary greatly, the secret is finding our what works for you and striving to make it happen.

Annie Gibbins

Lipstick CEO