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How to escape the ‘busy trap’ and create time

How to escape the ‘busy trap’ and create time

People talk about ‘finding time for me’ and contemplating moving to the country for a slower, less moneyed, but quite possibly richer, life. And more of us are creating time for health and wellbeing in our lives. Find out how.

What’s with the glorification of busy anyway?

As with any self-destructive behaviour, the first step is admitting we have a problem. And, as a society, we are starting to grasp that concept!

People talk about ‘finding time for me’ and contemplating moving to the country for a slower, less moneyed, but quite possibly richer, life. More people are working part time so they can spend time with children, and more employers are accepting remote hours and glide-time as productive ways of working. And more of us are creating time for health and wellbeing in our lives.

What if all this ‘busyness’ is self-imposed?

It all began in 2012 with an incredible article in the New York Times by Tim Krieder – “The Busy Trap”. He began:

“If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” … It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are... It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed.”

Are we trying to sound important by complaining about being busy? Is this how we validate ourselves? Has busyness become a measure of self-worth?

How are we self-programming our bodies to feel about this continual state of busyness? And how does this complaint make listeners feel if they aren’t lucky enough to have full employment, or children to run about after?

Creating time  - designing a less busy life

Yes, life can be incredibly jam-packed and there are things we need to do. But let’s look at removing some of the clutter and focusing on the things that truly matter in life.

Here’s a simple exercise to create more time – and room to thrive! Just for a moment, pretend you aren’t living such a busy life, and make some notes.

1. Write down the five things you love doing most.
2. Write down the five things you absolutely need to do each week to keep the wheels turning. This might be chores like weekly shop, cleaning the house, getting the kids to school, preparing meals - and going to work. 
3. Think of the five biggest time-wasters in any normal week. Some of these you might enjoy, but if you do too much of them, write them down. Things like sitting in traffic jams, spending time on social media, watching TV can burn up large amounts of time.
4. Make a note of the things you do in a normal week that are good for your wellbeing and health. Do any of these appear in your list of things you love?

Now think of a normal week in your life.

1. How often does it include any of the five things you love the most? How can you ensure that you create time to include more of them, more often?
2. How can you do the things you absolutely need to do more efficiently, to make time for the things you love? If you take public transport to work, can you get more reading done, or get to work faster? Can you do a fitness class at lunch time and get exercise? Can you cook dinner with your children to spend some time with them?
3. How much time is ‘wasted’ doing things that don’t appear on your lists of things you love or need to do? What habits need changing to reduce this wasted time?
4. How can you include more things that are good for your health and wellness? Think about exercise, nutrition and relaxation time.


Is Pilates part of your plan to thrive? Have a look at our Pilates classes or get in touch now.


Let's stop the glorification of busy

Guy Kawasaki’s article Let’s Stop the Glorification of Busy for the Huffington Post reviewed the book ‘Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder’ by Arianna Huffington. 

Wealthy Arianna is celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women, photographed for the covers of prestigious magazines and is the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Arianna began to wonder if money and power really were the measure of success after she was so exhausted that she fell, breaking a cheekbone and gashing her brow. As she underwent a brain MRI, CAT scan and echocardiogram, she wondered about how meaningful the measures of a successful life were, and whether the toll they take on our lives is worth it all.

To attain money and power, people work long hours, sleep less, impact our health and miss out on time with people we love. In the resulting book, Arianna proposed a third metric for success: thriving. 

What does a thriving life look like to you? Read our blog on escaping the busy trap to identify the key ingredients for a live you will love living.


10 tips from Arianna Huffington for creating a life of well-being, wisdom & wonder

1. Redefine success

Success is not working the most hours or sacrificing the most personal time. Success is creating a life you enjoyed living and that made other people’s lives richer.

2. Avoid burnout

Work smarter, not harder to avoid stress, burnout, and depression. Workers around the globe are increasingly suffering from these conditions – but remote working, glide time and flexible hours are becoming more common and technology now allows more efficient ways of working.

3. Nurture your well-being

Make time for the things that make you happier, healthier and more relaxed. Wellbeing is a requirement for a thriving life, not an optional extra!

4. Sleep more

Sleep is essential for good health, and to ensure a strong mental, emotional and physical state. Getting enough sleep also helps ensure you avoid illness and disease.

5. Take a digital detox

Step away from the computer. Put down the smartphone. Have screen free time with your kids. Be present with people, and enrich your life.

6. Keep learning

New skills, new exercises, new games, new facts. Active brains work better last longer and have more fun along the way!

7. Listen to your inner voice

Instinct is a phenomenal force. Follow your hunches, listen to your gut feelings and be in touch with your thoughts. You usually know exactly what is right for you.

8. Release your inner child

Spend time with children, take a trip, fall in love, try new things. Play! Spontaneity leads to joy; and joy is a precious ingredient in life. 

9. Find solitude

Peace and quiet restores wellbeing and nourishes creativity. Give yourself time to just ‘be’ and see what rises to the surface.

10. Give back

Compassionate acts contribute to a better world, and they make us happier. Volunteer, donate, create. Share your time and talents and make connections with your community.


A thriving life reaches other people and deepens our connection with ourselves. Take action now to create a shinier, healthier, more connected life and start enjoying yourself more!