If I could describe this time in history we all live in, I would describe it as the busy era. “I’ve been so busy” is the response to almost any question you ask a friend or colleague. We blame the busy because we live in a culture that loves the hustle, the go-go-go mentality. We want to seem like we’re always progressing. But what I see isn’t progress but a lack of prioritizing.
We have all been in a job that gave us busy work. It’s not hard to look busy or to be busy. But to be intentional is a whole different approach.
There’s a great activity that you’ve probably seen at a church or conference where the speaker stands in front of the audience with an empty jar. Slowly they start filling it with rocks of all sizes until nothing else fits. In the first instance, they do this with no prioritizing. They just stuff whatever they can in there. When they’re done, filling up their jar without thought, not everything will fit. However, when they do it a second time, they start by putting in the largest rocks, then the medium sized ones, followed by the smallest pebbles that sink into the gaps between the other rocks. Magically, they all fit.
Being busy looks like filling up your jar with handfuls of rocks and no thought. Being intentional and living a slow life means taking the moment to prioritize. By embracing the magic of putting our values first (big rocks) we find that we can have a full life.
I’ve told a few friends lately that I’ve really missed seeing them around and of course their response was “I’ve just been so busy.” But that’s no longer what I hear. What I hear is, “you’re just not my priority.” Which is okay, I can’t be on the top of everyone’s list (although I don’t know why, I’m so much fun to be around!) But if they knew that relaxation and community was one of their big stones/values, they might take a moment to think, is this the life I want to be living? Do I want to be busy with all these little stones and tasks I don’t really care about or do I want to be living a life that aligns with my values and prioritize the things that matter most?
This metaphor isn’t perfect (what metaphor is), there are probably things in your day that need to give. Having time for community, movement, spirituality, purpose, and health, or whatever your values are, won’t always work out. But when you at least keep your values front of mind and prioritize a few of them to be in your day, it’s amazing how much lighter and more connected you’ll feel.
Next time someone asks you how you’ve been, take a moment to think about your response. I bet you can come up with a better answer than “I’ve been busy” and instead share the priorities you’ve been focusing on.
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