Break Free from Busyness: Are You Hiding Behind Your Schedule?
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Some time ago, I noticed my life was filled to the brim with ‘stuff.’
My diary was a chaotic jumble of client appointments, CPD, DIY projects, and moments with family and friends. From sunrise to sunset, there was hardly a moment when something wasn’t scheduled in!
At the time, this busyness felt invigorating. I was caught in the whirlwind of constant activity, I convinced myself that my energy levels were well and truly topped. Yet, amid all the chaos, I had overlooked something profoundly important.
Have you every wondered if your busyness is a way of avoiding something deeper?
Sometimes busyness, even when it is highly productive, can be a symptom of wanting to avoid something difficult or awkward that we don’t feel prepared for emotionally.
I had my awakening during a CPD workshop that delved into the complexities of our brain. We explored the left and right brains.
The logical, reasoning left brain, and the intuitive, emotional right brain. The left brain often take charge when we’re confronted with emotions we’d rather not face. It devises logical reasons to steer us away from discomfort, leading us to close down our hearts and avoid connection. This workshop, however, urged us to expand our right brains, open our hearts, be present and connect.
We were invited to notice the constriction we experience when we protected ourselves out of fear. In my case, I knew my son was going away the following day (he had been home for 4 weeks) yet I had chosen to fill my diary with ‘stuff’.
When he left home for the first time, I felt a painful sense of loss as it changed my role as a mum. This time I overwhelmed myself with tasks and appointments to avoid feeling that loss again.
But the workshop taught me a valuable lesson:
When you feel anxious, that’s the moment to share.
So, I gathered the courage to cancel my appointments the following day, and chose to open my heart to my son. I wanted him to know how much I loved him even though it hurt to see him going away.
I was so pleased I recognised and acknowledged how my busyness was based on my fear of ‘loss’ and how I had constricted myself. I’d shut down my feelings, as a form of protection from pain.
The time I had with my son was amazing. What was even more incredible was my choice to be present and enjoy the moment.
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How does this apply to you as an Executive or Leader?
What struck me was, even though this was very personal for me, I could see how this also applied to the work setting.
As a leadership coach, I’ve witnessed many of my leadership clients facing a similar predicament:
- Schedules packed to the brim
- Trapped in transactional meetings, lacking the deeper conversations you truly need
- Switching your laptop on as soon as you get home and even checking emails in bed
- Always ‘on the go’
- Experiencing occasional angry outbursts with family members
- Claiming to be on your way home when you’re still immersed in work
These are familiar patterns for Executives and Leaders today. And it leads to burnout, exhaustion, snappiness, and a sense of being rushed and frazzled.
But why does this happen?
The truth is:
- You’ve pushed yourself to the limit for years
- You’ve got into the habit of not taking enough time to rest and recharge
- You don’t know how to switch off from the many challenges and daily distractions you have with your role
So, you solider on, believing you’re doing okay, until one day you have a fight with your loved ones, and suddenly you’re faced with a gnawing worry.
Have I let others down by prioritising my work over my relationships?
It’s in moments like these that you recognise a yearning for change.
A desire to establish clear boundaries, to express your needs and ask for help when necessary. Master the art of disconnecting from work and arriving home with a sense of calm. You crave the ability to step back, reflect, recharge, and refocus.
And that’s because you long for happiness, health, and balance, both in your personal life and your leadership role. You understand the significance of taking time for yourself, not just for the sake of your career, but for the well-being of your loved ones as well.
And here’s the bottom line: Awakening the inner leader within you is the first step towards achieving these desires.
You see, many Executives and Leaders focus on external strategies, management techniques, and productivity tools, and therefore neglect the one essential aspect of leadership that has the power to transform your life – the inner leader.
Your Turn to Awaken Your Inner Leader
How much of your busyness is actually self-protection?
Recognising this can help you make the decision to become a better leader, as well as giving your loved ones the best version of yourself.
Remember, the choice is yours: Do you remain in your comfort zone, shielded by busyness, or do you open your heart?
Whatever you choose, embrace it wholeheartedly
I’m confident that moving from the avoidance tactic of being constantly busy and always having something to ‘do;’ to opening your heart and being present with another person will create a safe space to engage in honest conversations and bring a positive change.
It’s about achieving work-life balance, “on your terms.”
Start Here to Awaken Your Inner Leader and Achieve Work-Life Balance “On Your Terms”
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Over the last two decades, I’ve supported Executives and Leaders across the NHS, private health, Local Government, transport, consultancy, sports, education, engineering, and marketing.
These have included leaders with job titles like Executive Directors, Clinical Leads, Headteachers, Consultants, Heads of Department, and Managing Directors.
I’m a firm believer that Great Leadership starts with you, which is why I’ve designed the “5 Principles of Great Leadership” – my unique perspective on leadership that emphasises the importance of your inner world (aka the ‘internal stuff’).
If you choose to embrace the ‘internal stuff,’ awaken your inner leader, and put yourself at the heart of leadership, let’s chat! Schedule a 30 minute complimentary call with me to explore how I can help you thrive as a leader by focusing on you.
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If you believe in the content and ideas I share and would like to be part of this ongoing journey, you can now support me by buying me a coffee – every cup counts!