Magazine article Work & Family Life

Survival Strategies in a 'Crazybusy' World

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Survival Strategies in a 'Crazybusy' World

Article excerpt

Too many of us these days live in a constant state of rushing around, running late and pushing ourselves to accomplish more than is reasonable or possible. We don't like feeling frantic so often, but we're starting to accept it. Being "crazybusy," we tell ourselves, is just an inevitable part of life in a modern world.

But if we're not careful, we'll get so busy that we'll miss taking the time to think and to feel. We'll lessen our own opportunities to complete a thought, develop a conversation or reflect upon a complex set of emotions.

How did this happen?

The crazybusy trend is not merely a by-product of today's high-speed, globalized society. It's a defining feature: we live in a world of 24-7 connectivity, escalating demands, higher expectations and economic uncertainty. The fallout for many of us personally is the sinking feeling that we're not in control of our own lives, and this raises everyone's stress level. It makes people sick, causes accidents and errors, makes otherwise pleasant individuals rude, and reduces our general level of happiness.

Hope, optimism, confidence and enthusiasm - positive emotional energy - make for success and happiness these days, just as they always have. But one difference now is that the harried pace of modern life makes it more difficult to maintain these positive attitudes. Our lives today can seem like riding a bike no-handed while reading a book and juggling six eggs, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some strategies to help you cope:

* Do what matters the most to yOU. Because technology has allowed us to do so much more than we used to be able to do, it's tempting to try to do everything. But at the core of living a meaningful life is the ability to treasure and protect our most important connections: people, places, activities, pets, spiritual matters, music, even objects. Focus on what you enjoy the most and on what you do best. Choose and prioritize. In order to do well and be happy, you need to say "no, thank you" to many people and activities.

* Create a positive emotional environment wherever you are. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. This is more important than you may imagine. When you feel safe and secure in your surroundings, when you feel welcomed and appreciated, you think better, behave better, work better and are better able to help others. In less positive atmospheres, you lose flexibility, enthusiasm, patience and humor. You become less able to cooperate, plan, delegate and perform all the functions essential to surviving and thriving in a busy environment.

* Do less screensucking. We have all fallen under the spell of the small screen and its seductive appeal. We feel compelled to log on, boot up, download. It's a modern addiction and, like addicts, we itch and scratch until we get our fix. But we need to log off and to be there in person, without distractions - whenever our emotions matter, whenever subtlety counts, whenever the issues are complex and in need of explanation or the content is joyful and in need of celebration.

* Identify and control the sources of "gemmelsmerch." This is the force that distracts us from what we want or ought to be doing. For example:

WATCHING TV CAN BE FUN, as long as it doesn't consume your attention at the expense of doing what you need to be doing. …

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