Monday, September 26, 2016

my busyness boundaries

"a perpetual state of busyness has the potential to make or break me. you can’t do it all. something has to give." -Rachel Moreland

so, now you know i believe life is not meant to be a balancing act. and i mentioned that i often get asked how i do "it all," and that i don't feel as busy as people think that i am.

here's the thing: busyness is my least favorite way of life. when i sense it sneaking up in my day or my week or my month, it's like a red flag goes up in my spirit that alerts me hey eryn, time to slam on the brakes and re-evaulate! busy is not the boss of me and i absolutely refuse to let it be my m.o.

in order to avoid living in a perpetual state of busyness, and even to limit the sense of busyness in my life, i set pretty firm boundaries for myself. these boundaries help me to feel balanced, prevent me from becoming stressed out, and keep me focused on my goal of making the most of every moment. this way, i can attend to the top priorities in my life, giving them just the right amount of time so that my schedule is never busting at the seams.

if you are feeling like you need balance in your life, or if you spend most days stressed out, if "busy" defines your days, i would encourage you to set some boundaries for yourself. take stock of what is contributing to your "busy." what are all the balls in the air that you are trying to juggle? see where you can trim some excess. and believe me, if you are stressed and are experiencing too many busy seasons, there IS excess to be trimmed. 
here are some of the boundaries i have in place and the triggers that contribute to my busyness...
busyness happens when i:

// say yes to all the invitations because FOMO. (Fear Of Missing Out) every yes i say to something is a no i have to say to something else. and sometimes we have to say no to something good in order to say yes to something better. that is hugely important to me. i refuse to live in FOMO mode. maybe you feel busy all the time because you actually are busy all the time? take inventory of your yes's and no's and see where FOMO is running your calendar. i have to be firm in the things i do not do so that i can have time for things that are more important. the boundary: be extremely careful of what i say YES to. 

// say no to people who offer to help because PRIDE. if someone offers to help in any way, i have trained myself to actually consider it instead of the knee-jerk reaction to say "thanks but no thanks." acts of service is a love language and if someone wants to speak that to me, what a blessing to be able to fill their love bucket! it's a win win! i also outsource and delegate as much as i can, like house cleaning and ironing. sometimes i want to be Superwoman and do it all myself. sometimes i want to do it all so i can get the credit for doing it. hello pride. the boundary: i don't need to and can't do it all myself, and i can humbly accept help when someone offers.

// try to be all things to all people. my heart is to serve and to be available to my people. but people pleasing always leads me to a state of busyness. every time i try to be everything to everyone, i run myself ragged. when my motivation is to make everyone happy, i end up saying yes to all the things, answering all the calls, signing up for all the opportunities, and eventually someone isn't happy. it's wheel-spinning and can be very inauthentic. this might be a pride issue, or a fear of disappointing someone. or a false assumption that my self-worth is measured by my service of, availability to, or approval of others. false. my self-worth is measured by Jesus, and i don't have to prove myself to Him. the boundary: know my limits and check my motivations for every yes.

// am too distracted to be productive. distractions are sneaky little timesuckers. they are the shiny thing that keeps us from being able to focus on the important thing, the noise that prevents us from hearing the music. if i'm supposed to be working or cooking dinner but i keep checking my facebook feed, i'm distracted and being unproductive. distractions like to disguise themselves as multi-tasking. folding laundry while listening to a podcast is mulit-tasking. doing homework with your kids while watching television is distracting. i will feel "too busy!" when it's suddenly dinner time and i am scrambling to put a meal together for my family when truthfully i was just too distracted. the boundary: just say no to mindless meaningless distractions.     

// strive for perfection. because perfection takes a lot of effort (for me), i try not to make it a personal goal. striving for perfection usually starts with comparison and ends with me frustrated and fearing failure. when i don't aim for perfection, but instead i set my own standard of good, pretty, clean, or whatever it is, life is a lot sweeter and feels a lot less busy. i remember stressing out like a madwoman one time when we were hosting a dinner party because i wanted everything to be like it was in a magazine that i saw. i worked myself to exhaustion and guess what? the memories our friends took away from that night had nothing to do with the lighting or the clean baseboards or the perfect place settings, but of our laughter and conversation and quality time together. that is my new standard of perfection, and it can't be compared to anyone else's. this is Mary and Martha stuff. it's biblical. the boundary: knowing it doesn't have to be perfect to be perfect. :)  

// need to realign my priorities. in those moments when i do feel stressed, it's a signal to me that i need to realign my priorities. does how i spend my time reflect my priorities? what are my daily goals and what am i doing to achieve them? what am i doing to self-sabotage? sometimes the imbalance is because i'm spending too much energy or time doing something that doesn't need to be top priority, and i'm letting my top priorities slip. having my priorities in order will help me say yes to the right things, eliminate distractions, and identify areas where i need help. the boundary: keeping first things first. 

what boundaries do you have in place to prevent busyness? 

"take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking." -Romans 12:1-2