When Banning Busy Isn’t Relevant

I’ve had a super busy two weeks in Europe and the Middle East. The kind of busy that takes my breath away and certainly not the type of busy I regularly live out in my daily life.

Interestingly, though, this busy hasn’t left me limp on the floor gasping for some calming essential oils. Instead, I’m pretty full of energy, and on (most) mornings I’ve been raring to get started on that day’s particular brand of crazy itinerary.

If you’ve read this blog for awhile you know I talk a lot about time management and energy management, and you know that I’m all about trying to find a way to live slower in lives of intense accomplishment. I don’t think that banning busy is about moving to a farm and building a house of peat moss, and I don’t think you need to eschew email, caffeine, and The Bachelor to stay sane. That said, I do think you need to be intentional about what you take on – and what you don’t take on – and I do think you need to be intentional about the way you live this life of yours.

As I woke one day on this packed trip of mine, I realized the main reason I was feeling so energized and peaceful during such a crazy trip.

Yes, prioritizing sleep, taking my vitamins, eating clean, and taking time for myself are all critical things I’ve been doing each and every day on this trip. They have been essential. But there’s one other thing that has made all the difference.

It’s this: Before leaving, I set an expectation for the type of trip this would be, and I set a goal for what I wanted out of the trip.

Given the busy itinerary, I set this specific expectation for myself: I would not keep up with any other work, email included. Even though this wasn’t a “vacation” per say, I would not be responsible for email starting the second I walked into the airport lounge. I also set a goal: my only goal was to enjoy myself, and to feel peaceful and energized in the process.

The end.

That’s literally all I cared about. In almost two weeks of travel I said this is what mattered. And everything else didn’t.

And it has made all the difference.

I’m feeling lighter and better than ever, and I realize that although I’ve dabbled in this kind of experiment before (and yes, I have done the more extreme digital detoxes on pure “vacations”) I’ve never been so clear about telling myself what I do care about – and what I don’t – during a busy stretch of travel. Instead, I usually try to keep up with work, and flounder, fail, and burn out in the process. It has been a huge eye opener, and a (hopeful) sign of good things to come.

Have you ever set an intention or goal for something in your life that has made you feel unusually liberated or energized? What has that been like?

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5 thoughts on “When Banning Busy Isn’t Relevant

  1. Yes, this is spot on. It’s my expectations that get me in trouble every time. When I have certain expectations and they aren’t met I’m stressed. But, when I set my expectations based on my own attitude, I’m in control and I feel so much better no matter the outcome.

  2. I’ve just used the same technique at work, where multi-tasking has been taken to ridiculous levels of late. I had a limited amount of time to finish something unavoidably time-consuming, and usually I try and keep everything else going alongside (with the “flounder, fail, burn-out” feeling). This year I said to colleagues “I’m not doing anything else until this is properly done” – and even though I didn’t stick to that 100%, and even though it was only me giving myself permission to focus, I felt less weighed down. Yesterday, I finished and felt great even after a 12-hour slog. And today going back to all the things that piled up in the meantime is proving less draining than I expected. Now all I have to do is work out how to apply a similar attitude to my regular work and my life will be transformed… :O)

  3. Planning to reproduce this experiment on my next vacations in July! Time and energy management became part of my life some time ago and definitely I’m producing more and better for the company I work for and for my personal activities. Let’see this working with my vacations…


  4. I hadn’t looked at it from this perspective before. As part of a small team, it’s usually impossible (or that’s the script I’ve got running in my head) for me to focus only on what’s in front of me when I’m on the road, but it basically means I’m trying to be in two places at once (aka. not really being in either).

    This is something I’ll consider more in the future, thanks for sharing!