Not that Busy – So Why Do I Feel Like I Am? My Brain Is Full.

fern with ice crystals - not that busy

“All day, I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t that busy. The way I did this was by silently repeating, ‘You’re not that busy.'”

-Hanna Rosin

Last week, I whined talked a lot about being busy. But then I started to think about it. I’m really not that busy. I feel pressured because the deadline is approaching for me to get a book manuscript* to the publisher, but I still:

  • Get enough sleep every night.
  • Exercise nearly every day.
  • Prepare healthful meals and eat them at the table.
  • Relax with my husband for a bit after work and again before bed.
  • Volunteer.
  • Get everything done that really needs to be done.
  • And have a few minutes every day to work on teaching my dog to sit, stand and lie down without moving her front feet just because I think it’s cool (scroll down for the video that inspired me).

So I started thinking about why I feel so busy. I think it’s just that my brain feels full. There are a number of things that I need to do that I’ve been holding in my head instead of writing down. Examples include filling the hummingbird feeders and trimming the dog’s nails.

Also, normally I only write a detailed to-do list (versus the events on my calendar) for the next day or two. Usually this works fine.

Right now, though, especially with all the little things to do for the holidays (yes, even a minimalist Christmas takes more time than a non-holiday season!), I think it will help me feel a lot less busy if I extend the to-do list to cover a full week.

Not only do I know from experience that these two tips help, but researchers have found that the Zeigarnik Effect (our brains keep nagging us about uncompleted actions) can be eased by making a plan to complete the action.

The human mind is remarkably persistent in its pursuits, often even disturbingly so. Intrusive thoughts remind people of their unfulfilled goals, including to the point of interfering with other tasks. . . . Once a detailed plan has been made, one no longer has to think about the goal to execute it.

What about you? Ever realize you’re not as busy as you feel?

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*Volume 2 of Art Law Deskbook