Podcast Transcriptions

Pursue What Matters

Episode 115: Do You Wear Busy as a Badge of Honor?

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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Are you overscheduled? Many of us are, and it is not a great recipe for success or happiness. So if you were busy as a badge of honor this shows for you.

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:13
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the pursuit matters Podcast, where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So I hear you’re busy. Well, you’re not alone. I come to you as a serious overschedule scheduler, I it has been such a problem for me throughout much of my life. And, you know, today, I want to help you really think about your schedule and think about whether you might, at times were busy as a badge of honor. So it’s definitely been something I’ve struggled with through most of my life. But I have committed to stop over scheduling. Because what I’ve realized is it wreaks havoc on my health, it wreaks havoc on my connection to purpose, and it wreaks havoc on my relationships. So that’s my commitment, right, that I’m going to stop over scheduling. And so my invitation to you is to first increase some awareness about this. And really, you know, have a good reality check with yourself about whether you might be susceptible to some of these issues that come up when we are always so darn busy. So what about you? Are you an overscheduled? Or do you promise too much do you do too much? do you prioritize others needs over your own needs? do you prioritize others goals over your own goals?

Dr. Melissa Smith 2:08
Now, this podcast isn’t about selfishness. I think that’s often the biggest kickback that I hear from people when I ask them these questions about doing too much or prioritizing other needs, because certainly there’s a place for sacrifice. And certainly there’s a place for showing up for others. But there are ways that we get tied into some of these patterns over time. And it’s not helpful. And it’s often not about so much helping others as it is propping up our own ego. And so that’s what we want to pay attention to today. And so another mistake that I see that folks make around this issue of scheduling and being busy feeling busy all the time, is to make the mistake of believing that this is just an issue of organization, or have time management alone. And I am here to tell you, it’s not right now you might have some organizational challenges, and you might have time management issues. But at its root, when we look at over scheduling and wearing busy as a badge of honor, it’s about much more than just failing to plan. And so I want to invite you to really take a deeper dive and get real, right? Be honest with yourself and take a look at some of the things that maybe you’d rather avoid. I know when it comes to myself and my schedule, it’s a lot easier to avoid it and tell like I run into a brick wall because I’ve been too busy.

Dr. Melissa Smith 3:43
And so as an over scheduler, I totally get it. And so the first thing that we want to start with is compassion. Right? For most of us who are busy, busy, busy all the time. We have good intent, right? We want to help we want to contribute. But we end up undermining ourselves and our biggest priorities in the process if we don’t watch ourselves, and so that’s what we really want to pay attention to today. And of course every week with the podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead I try to do that in one of three ways. leading with clarity, clarity around purpose, leading with curiosity, which is self awareness and self care, and leading and building a community. And so today primarily, we’re really going to be focusing on curiosity, which is self awareness and self leadership, right because we always have to first be able to lead ourselves if we are going to be of any use to others. We’ll also have a touch of clarity here as well because in order to step back from the buisiness and the overscheduling, you do need to have clarity about what matters now. You don’t have to have the path totally laid out for you. Because really, none of us do. But we do want to have clarity about priorities, because that can help make a difference with these issues.

Dr. Melissa Smith 5:11
Okay, so as we jump into this, you know, is being too busy really a problem, right? Like, what is really going on when we were busy as a badge of honor? Right? So that’s really what I want to start with? And you know, the short answer is, yes, this is a real problem. And there are three main ways that wearing busy as a badge of honor becomes a real problem for us in our lives. So the first way that wearing busy as a badge of honor is problematic is that it keeps us on a never ending treadmill of having our worth tied to productivity, external reinforcement, and living our lives for a future that never comes. Okay. So those are, that’s a big claim. Right? But you recall what I said just a few minutes ago, being busy is never just about time management, or, you know, personal organization. Right? for virtually all of us, there are deeper roots, especially when we have a pattern of being busy all the time. So, you know, when I look at my own story, I began my first job at age 13, and have pretty much been going nonstop, since then, you know, initially I worked because there was an opportunity, but also, there was a necessity to work, right? I needed money in my pocket, I needed to help pay for high school sports, I needed to pay for college. And you know, that’s true for almost all of us in this life, right? We need money in our pocket, we need to be able to provide for our needs provide for our family. And as I started to work, right, I recognized that it felt really good to work. And I don’t, I don’t know that that’s true for everyone. But when we think about a strong work ethic, right, like there is inherent value in work, and I was raised in a family of workers, right.

Dr. Melissa Smith 7:18
So some of my best known accounts are of my great grandfather, working himself to illness. And soon after death, during the Great Depression, or my own grandfather, his son, spending hours and hours after his regular job on his dream of being a farmer. You know, I also think about my own mother, who as a 26 year old single parent, with four children and a mortgage, found herself back in the workforce, right. So she began as a receptionist with very few marketable skills, and eventually went on to lead that same organization and me remarkable work ethic and development for her. And you know, these stories of a strong work ethic have been woven into my own life. But here’s what we want to be careful about. That, you know, that that work in and of itself can be valuable, right. But when we are using it to serve a purpose that it’s not intended to serve, we need to be careful, right. And so one of the things that can help us when we think about work, and we think about the choices that we make around our schedule, and productivity, is that work can be a way that we live to our values, right? And that if we can keep if we can keep our values at the forefront, it can help us stay on the right side of the line in terms of are we getting caught into external reinforcement, and living our lives for a future that never comes? Or are we making purpose driven decisions based on our most deeply held values? Right. And so when I think about my great grandfather, who, sadly he was a young man, he had three young children, he was married, and worked himself to death during the Great Depression because he had to provide for his family. And he believed strongly that it was his obligation to do so he did not have much choice there. And of course, we know during the Great Depression, there were so many stories by kids. You know, my grandfather worked all those years to fulfill his dream of being a farmer. But he did it for a worthy cause. He wanted his own children to learn and appreciate the gifts from his own childhood. After his father’s death. He was raised with his mother, by his mother and by his grandparents on the family. We farm. And that was a treasured childhood for him, and all that he learned on the family farm. And so he sacrificed much in the pursuit of this value to be able to provide these types of opportunities for his own children.

Dr. Melissa Smith 8:04
And then of course, right my mother did what she needed to do for her children, for her love of her children, she was the backstop for us. And she took that responsibility very seriously. And so as we think about work, right, I first of all want to say I am a fan of work. And I think we should all be fans of work, but let it be in service of a greater good, right, let it be a tool, and not a weapon that we use to beat over our heads. Let’s not feel guilt, about work. Having a strong work ethic is one of the most valuable skills that we can develop in life, it helps us to push through on hard things, it builds skills and character. And we know that good work can truly be its own reward. But sometimes we use work to meet other needs. And that’s what I’m talking about here today.

Dr. Melissa Smith 11:14
So don’t mistake this conversation with a thought that I don’t believe in the value of work, because I really, really do. But I also believe in balance. And that’s my invitation for you today to increase your awareness about your own approach to work and to your schedule. And, you know, if you notice, gosh, there’s some stuff here that maybe isn’t quite working well, then let this be an invitation towards a bit more balance, and a bit more of this self awareness in the self leadership that is so important when it comes to life, and leadership.

Dr. Melissa Smith 11:51
So, you know, when I started working as a teenager, of course, I recognize that work was good for me and its own right. But I was also a person who was pretty sensitive and aware of the needs of others, I was a classic people pleaser. And so if I could do something that would please others. Boy, I was all over it. And in fact, this became one of the main ways that I managed my own self identity. So if I was busy, it meant that I was valuable. If I was helpful, it meant that I wasn’t a burden, if I could anticipate other’s needs, and do whatever it took to meet those needs, it meant that I would be loved, right. And so if we think about this idea of being busy, and wearing buisiness, as a badge of honor, and always being on that treadmill of productivity, it can have really deep roots for us. We can tie productivity to work, we can tie productivity to being loved. And in that way we weigh work down, and we lose sight of purpose and vision. And so that those are some of my questions for you, right? Do you sometimes tie busy-ness or productivity to your value as an individual, so maybe you can see how this approach to productivity can just be a tad bit harmful? Right. So there were ways I was rewarded for being busy, productive and successful. And because I was using those things, right, the productivity, checking things off the to do list, because I was using those things to feel better about myself, I was so vulnerable to wearing busy as a badge of honor as a badge of worth to say, hey, this shows that I have value. And I got to tell you, I’ve, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to dismantle that connection. And I as I speak to so many leaders, I know I’m not alone, I know that others struggle with this as well. And then we get caught on this treadmill. And it never leads us anywhere we really want to go. So working too much can be just like any other addictive process in which we seek to meet an underlying need, right? So to feel better about ourselves, while also numbing our underlying pain, right? Of not feeling good enough. So there are two parts there. When we think about when we think about an addictive process, right? We’re trying to meet an underlying need to feel better about ourselves, while also numbing our underlying pain of not feeling good enough because that hurts. That’s painful, but being busy, productive, or really any other addictive process, right, like it was never designed to manage our self identity or our emotional states. That’s some heavy lifting for work. That’s some heavy lifting for a job, right like certainly our work And our careers become part of our identities. But we should hold those roles lightly. Right, they should not determine our wealth or worth, they should not be the end all be all. And so the biggest problem is that when we put our worth, in sources external to ourselves, right, whether it’s a job, whether it’s another person, whether it’s a net worth, right, this virtually guarantees that we will always be running on a treadmill of never good enough, right? We start to say things or think things, right, this can be a very subconscious level, all the worthy one, right, like when when the number in my bank account reaches this amount, all rest one, right, as soon as I get past this project, I will rest all be satisfied one. And the truth is, because we put our worth in sources external to us, we will never be able to get off that treadmill. And so we really, we really want to think about other ways that we can step off that treadmill and really recenter our worth and our value.

Dr. Melissa Smith 16:12
So the you know, the other thing that that this guarantees, right when we put our worth in sources external to ourselves is that it guarantees that we’ll prioritize productivity over purpose, because that’s what gives us the dopamine hit. And it virtually guarantees that we live our lives for a day that never comes right the day that never comes, is a day when we’re satisfied. And we allow ourselves to rest. And so of course, the invitation is let’s help you get off that treadmill, let’s step away from you know, let’s disentangle our worth from our productivity. And really challenge the guilt that may creep up if you’re not constantly busy, right? It doesn’t feel good to be busy all the time. And yet, we chase after it, because we’re trying to soothe underlying needs. So that is the first point when it comes to this idea that wearing busy as a badge of honor is a big problem, right. And so the point, the first point that I just talked about is that it keeps us on a never ending treadmill of having our worth tied to productivity, external reinforcement, and living our lives for a future that never comes.

Dr. Melissa Smith 17:35
So now let’s move to our second point. And this is so this is where we think about how living this way is a problem. And what happens is that when we prioritize being busy, and being productive, it leads us to sacrificing our goals for the goals of others. Right. And so the ways that we get tripped up in this is through people pleasing, mind reading, right, or anticipating people’s needs with if someone says, If someone asks us something, the answer is always. Yes. And so what happens is we serve others agendas rather than our own. And we help others pursue their purpose, rather than our own. Now, you can certainly have alignment on purpose. And it’s it’s wonderful to contribute. But we don’t want you undermining your own potential, your own purpose, your own goals for others, because you’re chasing this elusive need to feel better about yourself. So some of the ways that this can show up is that we don’t hold boundaries with others, we say yes, when we should say no, that’s a big one. That’s a big way that it shows up. So we say yes, in the short term, which results in that dopamine hit, right? It feels good to say yes, it feels good to play someone. And so we go for that short term dopamine hit, because it does feel good to say yes to please others and to help others. But saying yes, in the long term, when we should have said no, right, because we have other priorities. Are our schedules too busy, right? In the long term. When we say yes, when we should have said no, this results in frustration. It results in us being stretched too thin. We got too much to do and not enough time. It leads to disconnection from our own purpose and priorities. It leads to resentment, and it leads to burnout. So classic recipe for burnout. So of course, right? The second point that when we prioritize being busy and productive, it leads us to sacrificing our goals for the goals of others. That’s a big problem. And so we want to stay away from that.

Dr. Melissa Smith 19:57
And now let’s take a look at the third reason this is a problem, right? So when we were busy as a badge of honor, it leads to emotional and physical disconnection, not only within ourselves, but with others. Okay, so I want you to hear me out on this one, because I think this is an aspect of being over scheduled that we often don’t appreciate because being disconnected becomes our default state. Okay? So I can just think about in my own life, right being busy all the time, it has wreaked havoc in every area of my life. And I mean that sincerely. Right? It’s led to doing way too much. It’s led to frustration and resentment both for me, right? Because I say yes, when I should say no, but it also leads to frustration and resentment for those I love. Because I failed to keep my commitments to them, or I failed to prioritize time with them. Because I’m chasing after this shiny object of productivity. It’s led to burnout in different points in my life. And it’s certainly led to health concerns, right, the chronic impact of stress, and a lack of rust will always result in health concerns. It’s also lead to living my life by the clock, which prevents me from being truly present. Now this one I’ve been working so hard to overcome.

Dr. Melissa Smith 21:32
And I think, you know, I just I think I have a natural inclination towards, towards more obsessiveness, right. Some of us some of us do, right? With, there’s a whole continuum of that. And so what that means for me is I really queue in to numbers. And so when we think about the clock, this can just that can just wreak havoc for me, because I’m always thinking, what do I need to do next? Or how long is this going to take? Or am I going to be able to fit in, you know, the other five things that I have on my list. And so I’m in my head, and I’m calculating, and I’m building anxiety and rumination. And what that means is I’m not present, I’m actually not, in the moment aware of those around me. And that is a big loss that can happen for so many of us, especially when we get busier, it’s easy to be present, when we’re on vacation, right. And that actually has been found to be one of the best gifts of a vacation, it pushes us towards more presence. But we want to make sure that we bring presence into our daily life, because that’s the life we’re living. And so you know, if we if we think about this third point, is, you know, you don’t have the luxury of attending to your needs, because you are hyper focused on the needs of others. Right? So your mind reading your people pleasing your storytelling. So sometimes that storytelling is what what are they really mean? Right? They’re not asking me to help on this. But I bet, I bet they could use it right. And so we get again, we get lost in our heads. So we end up living for a gold star for the acknowledgment for the elusive, you are enough message from others. But here’s the thing, even if we get those messages from others, because lots of times they will, you know, they’ll be grateful, and they’ll be appreciative. And they will acknowledge our efforts. But even when those messages are sent to us, we’ll have difficulty receiving them because we don’t have a secure foundation of worth within ourselves. And so even though we’re searching after these acknowledgments and these compliments these, these gold stars that say you’re good enough, right, because we don’t have a secure foundation of worth within ourselves, those messages, to a large extent will ring hollow. And so if your needs conflict with others, others when, right. And so when you do this chronically, you become disconnected from yourself.

Dr. Melissa Smith 24:19
So I already mentioned one of the big ways that this shows up is we become emotionally numb. Now, I think this is actually a really big problem in our society right now. We are just checked out. We’re in our phones, and we’re not present in our lives. So the other thing that that this does in terms of disconnection from self is that the accumulated stress and fatigue show up as physical symptoms, right we start having health concerns. And that is a big way that that the chronic buisiness shows up for us. We’re disconnected from the unfolding of purpose. Because purpose is fuzzy, right? If you think about purpose as the mountain peak in the distance, it’s, it’s often far away, it feels far away, it feels shrouded in clouds or in fog. And so in order to be aware to the unfolding of purpose, you gotta, you got to have some quiet time, you’ve got to have some time to reflect, you’ve got to be emotionally connected to understand what it is you value what it is you feel passionate about. And when we’re emotionally numb, we cannot connect to purpose. It also prevents you from having an appreciation for yourself, right? Because the answer, or the solution is always outside of yourself. And it also creates disconnection with self compassion.

Dr. Melissa Smith 25:55
So we just right like, the solution is to run faster on that treadmill to work harder to do more to be more of a superwoman or more of a Superman. And that leaves absolutely no room for self compassion. It leaves no room for your physical needs, your emotional needs, your spiritual needs. And so in a very real way, we never really learn to know ourselves to value ourselves, or to embrace the unfolding of purpose. Because we’re too busy. Work, we’re too busy answering the calls of others, we’re too busy doing things, checking things off our list and sacrificing our own needs. And then the last, the last part of this emotional and physical disconnection is that over time, we also become disconnected from others. So we just talked about disconnection from self, but we also become disconnected from others. So over time, when we say yes, when we should be saying no, other’s needs become overwhelming. And so we pull away, it can lead to isolation, it can be it can lead to emotional disconnection, it also leads to frustration and resentment, right? Because we’re saying yes, when we should be saying no. And this can lead to distance in a relationship, because then, you know, instead of being able to own our own part in that, which is I should have said, No, we project that on to the other person. And so when we see them, we feel frustrated, or we feel resentful. But in a very real way, right from Maya Angelou, we teach people how to treat us. And so if you notice yourself feeling really frustrated, or resentful, resentful, especially, that’s where you really need to get curious and take a look at what is my part here, because I promise you, you probably have a part. Now frustration can come up, and it and it can be about hey, this person is overstepping a boundary.

Dr. Melissa Smith 27:57
But then we got to hold the boundary In response, and that actually takes care of frustration. But when we don’t hold the boundary, when we say yes, instead of No, overtime, that frustration builds into resentment, and it’s really resentment. We always directed at other people. But it is right like, it’s actually needs to be a mirror to reflect back to you what’s going on here. Right? It’s an important, it’s an important sign. But what I would say is, it’s not just about the other person, you got to pay attention to your part in this and resentment often builds up because we’re not holding boundaries consistently.

Dr. Melissa Smith 28:37
Okay, it can also come up because others aren’t respecting your boundaries. But that means let’s reassert the boundaries, maybe you need to have a clear boundary, maybe you need to have a tougher boundary, so that you don’t have resentment building up. Okay. And so you know, that this frustration and resentment is obviously no fun to have in a relationship. You might also feel used or unappreciated. And so right, those are the ways that we can disconnect from others as a result of wearing busy as a badge of honor. But let’s think about your loved ones, right? They feel frustrated that your productivity or your work gets in the way of connection, it gets in the way of time with them, right? It gets in the way of availability, and it really the big one is it gets in the way of presence, right to actually be where you are, and not in your head, not on an email, not checking off a to do list even if you’re in the room.

Dr. Melissa Smith 29:43
So now let’s talk about some solutions. We want to help you overcome busy as a badge of honor. Okay, so tied to this first point. So remember, the first issue is that when we were busy as a badge of honor, it keeps us on a never ending treadmill Middle of having our worth tied to productivity, external reinforcement and living our lives for a future that never comes. So I’ve got some solutions for you. So first we want to recenter our worth, where does your worth live? Does it really lie in checking off a task list?

Dr. Melissa Smith 30:22
Or does it lie in your values, your history, the things that make you unique, the things that you’re passionate about. And so in a very real way, we want to help you recenter your worth, we want to challenge the guilt that comes up related to downtime, the guilt that might come up, if you don’t check everything off your list. In fact, maybe you’d work on shortening the list, maybe you’d work on even getting rid of the list as a way of helping you. So remind yourself that worth is an internal game, right that we have inherent worth. And it’s not tied to external factors. It’s not tied to productivity. And the next thing we want to think about is relaxing, not even thinking about but doing, we want to relax into the present moment. And so you can utilize grounding techniques to help you attune to the five senses. So grounding is a technique used in psychology, right? So trauma. Survivors use this quite a bit, but it can be helpful for anyone. And so it when we think about grounding, we just think about attuning to the five senses in the present moment. So what do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel right? So we What do you taste, right? We pay attention to all of that. And in a very real way, it brings you in to the present moment. Another way that you can relax into the present moment, is through meditation, if you’ve listened to any of the podcasts, you know, I’m a fan of meditation, it is an invitation into the present moment doesn’t mean it’s easy, but really very valuable. We also want to get rid of distractions. So thinking about putting your phones away, silencing notifications, disabling notifications, getting rid of the to do list, and even limiting the the number of clocks you have around, right. So if you’re like me, and you really queue into time, maybe have fewer clocks in your line of sight. So you know, something that I do so I have I I’m old school, I think I might be the only one left that still uses an alarm clock. And it’s across the room. So it’s not near my bed. But I at night, I actually put a little card in front of the clock. So if I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m not looking at the clock, because if I were to look at the clock, it makes me anxious, I think about oh my gosh, I only have you know, three more hours of sleep before I need to get up or I’d start actually going through the the planning for the day. And so that’s something that I do to help me. And you know, I would invite you especially at home, but also at work is can you have more phone free time, right.

Dr. Melissa Smith 33:17
So at our house, we have a phone basket. And that’s where the phones reside, right? Putting putting your phone in the other room. Have setting some limits on yourself. So especially on weekends, setting limits on how often you’re checking the phone, not checking work email, on weekends, and so right like setting some boundaries for yourself around distractions, that may pull you back into work. So you know, sometimes what that means is like I just won’t even bring my laptop home. Because I know it because of a project I’m working on. If I have that laptop at home, it’s going to be really hard for me to stay out of the work. So I’m just not going to bring it home. And so the other thing that we want to help you with with this first point is to understand the difference between being busy and being productive, right, like there, there’s a difference there. And we want to address both. But we want to get rid of busy. And sometimes we’re just we’re just busy for the sake of that dopamine hit. So some ways that you can do this is first of all stop saying you’re so busy, right? Because when when we say that, or like oh, you wouldn’t believe my schedule or you’re complaining about your schedule, right? It’s bringing attention. It is kind of a twisted way of trying to get some feedback from others as I don’t know how you do it. You’re amazing. And really we don’t want to have that reinforced because we’re trying to become less busy. And I would say in some ways, we also want to become less productive at Recognizing that, that doesn’t have to be the end of the world. And so we want to balance work and productive work, right. So if we’re working, we wanted to be productive, but we need to balance that with rest and relaxation. And so accepting the idea that rest and relaxation are just as vital to success and happiness, as is productive work, right? We need balance as humans, and so reminding yourself of that.

Dr. Melissa Smith 35:30
Okay, so now let’s talk about solutions. related to the second point. The second point is that when we prioritize being busy and productive, this leads us to sacrificing our goals for the goals of others. And boy, we don’t want to do that. So let’s look at some solutions. So first is identify one to two values to help guide your decision making. So you don’t have to have purpose totally laid out. You don’t even have to have a big list of values. But can you identify one to two values that help guide your decision making? So one of my core values is connection? And I in a very real way, do use that to make decisions? So if I make this decision, is it going to cultivate connection? Or is it going to undermine connection? And that becomes that becomes a metric that I use to make decisions? You can ask yourself, what brings me meaning? Right, so you can ask that question of the at the end of my life? What will I? What will I value the most? Is it going to be the relationships? Is it going to be the corner office, right that that’s cliche, but it is for a reason? Because it connects us very quickly? To meaning. You could also ask if I could only do one thing this year, what would it be? Right? So if you can, you can future cast to the end of the year, right, December 31? Looking back? What if you could only do one thing? What is it that you would want to do and why? It doesn’t mean you have to do it. But this question can really help you to prioritize focus. And it connects you to your purpose, it connects you to what matters? Most, what do you what do you value? What really matters to you? How do you want to spend your time? These questions really bring clarity.

Dr. Melissa Smith 37:35
Okay, another solution for this second point is to never say yes, in the moment, that that is a that’s a really good rule of thumb to use in your life. So I’ll often say I’ll need to get back to you, and what this does is it helps you to slow yourself down so that you’re resisting that dopamine hit by saying yes, in the short term. And then you know, that process slows you down. And then you could go through a pros and cons list of saying yes, versus saying no. Right. And it can really help you to get clear on why would you? Why would you say yes? Why would you say no, right. And it really helps you to set that up against your existing priorities or existing commitments, so that you’re not over committing and that you’re not undermining other commitments that you’ve already made.

Dr. Melissa Smith 38:29
So another solution that you can work on you could use is to limit how many goals that you set for a year, and actually setting goals that can be really helpful because it, it focuses our efforts. So maybe you do one to five goals for the year, or you just focus on the quarter, right and having one to two goals for the quarter, maybe you just have one goal for the quarter. The point around these goals is not to get more done, right? That would totally undermine the purpose. But it’s to focus your priorities to be able to say, How do I want to use my time and what is of value to me. And then once you set those goals, it’s really important to review them daily, or at least weekly. Because otherwise, it’s easy to get swept up into just the daily grind. And pretty soon you’re totally disconnected from those goals you have set. So you know, when folks asked for help, you must set the request against your goals against your priorities to determine fit, right. And so the last solution for point two is that we want you to lead the day with your top priorities. So do not run your life out of your email box. And so for sure, we want to resist the siren call of email. But we really want to think about when do you have the best focus when do you have a time block that you can devote to your top priorities and lead the day with your top priorities do not push your top priorities to the margins. That’s something that I found actually recently in my organization in our organization is that some of the top priorities were pushed to the margins of the day or I was getting, I was trying to fit them in after hours, and it was such a recipe for disaster. I mean, it was, I was really on a path to burnout, because I was doing too much, I was doing too much. And if you lead, that’s such an easy path to get pushed into. Because there are a lot of demands. And especially, you know, if you’re leading your own organization, or a smaller organization, or a team that’s really growing, you really have to have some boundaries on this. And so we think about, you know, setting some time boundaries around work. So one of the things that I’ve done is, my goal is to be out of the office by three o’clock, and I made myself accountable to my accountability group for that, and it helps when you’re accountable to others, it makes a big difference.

Dr. Melissa Smith 41:13
Okay, so now let’s talk about solutions for this last point, this last point is that, you know, wearing busy as a badge of honor really can lead to emotional and physical disconnection, both from self and from others. And so let’s think about some solutions for this one. So first one and this is a I’m a big fan of this is journaling. So journal in order to understand what you think, believe and feel journaling is a really good antidote to emotional numbing. And I would say journal consistently journal a few times a week, use prompts, if that can be helpful, use some of the prompts that I shared earlier in the podcast, I also have podcasts on journaling. So I will link to that in the show notes, schedule, rest and relaxation. So for those of us who are over scheduled, and we live our lives by the clock, and by the calendar, let’s use that tendency to actually help you overcome over scheduling. And so it might sound weird, but I really do want you to schedule, rest and relaxation time, put it on your plan or put it on your calendar block out the time, because that helps to it. First of all, it helps you to keep your commitment to more balance. And it’s put right like it’s it’s putting a stake in the calendar is putting a stake in the ground to say you have permission to rest, you have permission to relax, you have permission to go home now. And so blocking out time during the work day for meditation for paced breathing, or a walk, right. So don’t try and multitask during these break periods. But really, the goal with these these activities is they invite presence, they invite emotional connection and awareness. And so meditation paced breathing, walking, meditation can be really great. And what I want you to do is set up times in the day, it doesn’t have to be long, right? It can be five to 10 minutes, but let’s get in a pattern of consistently attending to your needs. The next solution is to cultivate activities that help you connect emotionally and physically. Right. So maybe you join a pickleball week or swimming, I love swimming, because it’s very technique driven, I tend to kind of really enjoy those kinds of activities. So swimming, I’m also a power lifter, because because they’re technique driven, they push me to more awareness, I need to be mindful, I need to be present, right? So if we think about something, I need to be president or I’m gonna drown or, you know, my swim is going to be super inefficient. And so thinking about physical activities that invite awareness. So of course, you know, we think about yoga, Pilates, anything like that. But also think about opportunities for emotional connection. So right so for sure, social connection, like a pickleball league or tennis league or something like that. But also art, art, pottery, anything, any of the visual arts are really very helpful for integrating emotions and helping us to connect emotionally right? Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s music, so anything like that can be super helpful. So it doesn’t have to be visual arts. Think about any, any form of creativity that allows you, you know, to go from, from a linear perspective, right to an expanded view of yourself. Your life, your emotions, your body. It’s really, really wonderful because creativity helps us to integrate our emotions. That’s one of the great values of creativity. The other thing I want you to do is schedule social time, right? So just like you’d schedule all the other stuff, schedule some social time, think about this, annually, think about this monthly, think about this weekly, maybe even daily. So we think about friends. So do you have white space at work? Can you go to lunch with friends? Do you have some activities, so maybe that pickleball league that you could look forward to thinking about couple times, so date night getaways, daily check ins, right, where you actually have an opportunity to check in with one another see how the day was? We think about family, so on a daily basis, thinking about the possibility for family dinners, prioritizing those weekend time family trips, and daily touch points.

Dr. Melissa Smith 46:00
So you know, that’s something that I really tried to prioritize is just having at least a couple of touch points with my busy teenagers, right. They’re both working, they’re busy, they’ve got busy schedules, but to be there at the crossroads to be there, consistently, when I know they will be at home. So we have these touch points, these natural check ins they don’t have, right, it doesn’t need to be formal, and don’t make it formal with teenagers or they will, they will flee the scene. But being there and being present. Another solution is to be clear about your most important commitments, right. And this, again, like we talked about with goals, it really helps us to avoid over scheduling, or creating commitment conflicts, it also helps you to say no, instead of Yes. And then consider physical movement options that cultivate interoceptive awareness. So interoceptive awareness is this awareness of what’s happening in your physical body, right, we talked about a couple things before with swimming, and powerlifting, that sort of thing. But some activities that really helped to cultivate this awareness would be yoga, physical therapy, right. And physical therapy can be really helpful, because you’re getting education, and coaching and training in terms of cueing and developing that awareness. I think about walking meditation is certainly something that can help with this.

Dr. Melissa Smith 47:33
So there you go. Those are some solutions for each of the three areas where we think about, you know, overcoming this tendency to wear busy-ness as a badge of honor. And so the last word that I would just share with you is that, you know, as long as you’re competent, and skilled, you’ll always, you’ll always have more opportunities than you can commit to. And that doesn’t have to be a problem, you just have to settle into that. And recognize that you can’t do everything. You don’t want to try to do everything, that a balanced life is a recipe for not only a happy life, but also a successful life. And so, you know, we don’t want to get pulled into ego in those moments when people are making requests of us. We want to be fully centered on what matters and why we got to have clarity about that. And so you’ve got to be willing to say no, you’ve got to be willing to set and hold boundaries. And so I hope that this podcast has been helpful for you. I hope that you will be less busy, and that you will resist the urge to over schedule yourself. And if you want to head over to my website, you can check out the show notes. And then I also have some resources, including some links to other episodes. Especially you’ve got the curse of the competent. We’ve got boundaries also include the journaling, podcast for your reference. You can find all of that at my web site www.drmelissasmith.com/busybadge. So I’m going to spell that for you one more time is www.drmelissasmith.com/busybadge. And I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai