What do you do when your busy-ness gets the better of you?
In August, The Ponderance hosted its second ever PonderX event on the subject of Balancing Busy-ness.
Our expert life-juggling guest speakers shared a few experiences with us, Moments in their lives when they had felt extreme anxiety, forgotten about important commitments or even thrown in (pegged hard against the wall) the towel (their reasonably new and expensive mobile phone).
We spoke about burnout, time management, looking after loved ones and what 'healthy' really means. For those of you that couldn’t be there, (we assume you were too busy) we’d like to share a few key insights to help you balance your busy-ness...
Everyone's favourite bajillionaire TV host, Oprah Winfrey once said ‘You can have it all, just not all at once’. An equally impressive woman who was on our panel, Paige Aubort revised this theory with a musical metaphor for task juggling.
Paige rolled it out asking us to "imagine you are the DJ, and the turntables are your life". Although it may be tempting to put the equalisers to full blast on every song... it’s probably not going to end up sounding too good. The mash-up thing is niche and only a few DJs can pull it off. For a smoother set we need to turn the volume up in one or two aspects (songs) of our lives - be it health, family or work, and turn it down in other areas. As time goes by, we mix the next song and the song after that to accommodate whatever life throws at us. Some times we do it smoothly, sometimes we drop a track. Regardless, we just have to keep mixing and try to keep the crowd moving to our beat.
Paige further stressed the importance of being honest with your friends, family and lovers about when you can realistically see them. "If you can only see them once a month, plan to see them once a month". Don’t promise to see your friend every week and blow them off three times out of four. Set realistic expectations and put your commitments into a real, actual calendar that you look at and stick to the dates you make. It's not hard to do if you plan realistic amounts of time.
Just Say No
Our former pro surfer and national brand manager panelist Beau Walker talked about the vital importance of learning to say No. Whether you’re being asked to work over time, attend an overseas event, or have beers with a mate you don't reeeaaallyy connect with anymore, the ability to say No is vital. But it doesn’t come easily to everyone. We prefer to say Yes to everything, and then come up with an excuse not to at the last minute. To recall the DJ metaphor... This time we are dealing with a drunk patron requesting a song that just simply doesn't fit in to the mix. You could say Yes and not play it, risking the patron's wrath. Worse still, you play it and it sounds so bad that you don't get another gig at that bar again.
Beau told us that learning to say No is an invaluable skill he has had to master and remaster many times. It’s not just a question of how you value your own time, but how you value others too. Don’t feign illness. Don’t show up tired and resentful for being there. Just say No, from the outset and your friends, family, boss, colleagues and self will be better off for it.
When you do say Yes, whatever you are doing, whoever you are with, actually Be There. Be present. Turn your fucking phone off.
You owe it to that friend who you haven’t seen for a month (or more) to be physically AND mentally present in the conversation. That means listening to someone talk without interrupting. Asking and actually remembering what they are up to and planning a response in your head that adds value to their life and your relationship with them.
For our panelists (and most people, ever), good health doesn’t look like going to the gym five days a week.
Paige spoke about health as 30 minutes of sunshine on her skin and fresh air in her lungs every day. She finds this on her morning walk to work without music or the chatter of a podcast, simply soaking up the sounds and smells of the world around her before being indoors and in a controlled/manicured environment.
For Arghya, health looks like a big cuddle at the end of the day. Like a bike ride on his days off, or taking his well deserved leave to travel the world and climb mountains in Russia.
For Beau, health starts with mindfulness and meditation. Meditation is the space between the thoughts. You don’t need a round cushion and a buddha statue to do it… The mind can be a terrifying place, but by cultivating an awareness of our thoughts we can reclaim some control over them, and then use them to help us. Once the mental fitness is in check, the physical will follow. If you need some guidance, try the Headspace app for free 10 minute daily meditations.
For more on this, read our article on The Art of Doing Nothing.