Busting Busy: 6 Tips to Declutter Your Agenda and Start Catching Your Dreams

Who never experienced “busy”? Does this sound like you: Agenda is full, head is full, the to-do lists had babies (or, the list is so massive it never makes it out of the mind), and when someone asks “How’s it going?” your go-to is, “Ok, fine, busy. You know.”

Is it just me?

Even if you sit still your mind keeps processing, and you probably feel guilty for even sitting still. It may just be a busy period, or maybe it’s your 24/7. My physical therapist asked me, “Are you breathing enough?” I showed her a breath. “No, not that (stressed, shallow) breathing.” Busted.

I know it’s great stuff we’re doing. We thrive in the juggling and are happy to contribute our skills and talents to something. We may even pat ourselves on the back for handling everything without collapsing– but collapse may be around the corner—mental, emotional, relational, physical.

One day I looked around and realized I was the only person doing everything. (click to tweet)

If time is our most precious yet undervalued commodity (irreplaceable equals priceless), then I better spend mine doing the rightest right things.

Agenda items as “Stuff”
I love home declutter projects and wage frequent wars to keep stuff from taking over my life and stealing joy. So guess how shocked I was to realize I’ve been accumulating/cramming/NYC-sorting “stuff” in my agenda and priorities! (New Yorkers know how to cram lots into small living quarters–just ask my husband how much I can fit into our freezer or trunk).

Maybe we should treat all of our projects, commitments, tasks, emails, meetings, etc. like “stuff” and honestly review what needs sorting, chucking, or giving away/delegating. (click to tweet)

Don’t mistake activity for progress.
I can exhaust myself on a treadmill but go nowhere. Here are 3 mental notes I’m now using to check myself before taking on more (3 more coming):

  1. Am I really on this earth to do Everything? (Christians look out: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is a verse used to keep many of us busy. But that passage is about being content in all situations, not infinitely loading our plates).
  2. Why do I raise my hand to help at every turn? Is a full agenda compensating feelings of self-doubt or low self-worth? (Life’s too short, We’re All too Awesome –funk that!)
  3. I have enough to do/explore/create within my own family and self without taking on stuff from the outside. Is the fam even on my priorities and action list?

I’m not saying say no to everything that comes up. I am saying know for yourself what your priorities and Dreams are.  Say yes to things that get you there. (click to tweet)

Be a dangerous dreamer…

It’s your turn/Time.

What do you want to achieve or create? Think big, bigger, like you can do anything (because you can). But it requires stopping, atleast for a moment, which may be the hardest thing of all. (Tell yourself you’ll be up and running shortly–just maybe in a different direction).

But be warned, I’ve done brain/heart dumping atleast 4 times before. Here’s why I failed:

  1. I never added dates. Even if you write dreams and goals, even if you list steps to get there, without deadlines they never see the agenda. Out of sight, out of mind.
    Tip: Meistertask is helping me turn Dreams into Action Plans and Projects with Task lists and due dates. Woo! (And free! ) ❤
  2. I never broke down complex goals/dreams/hopes into minutia. A big dream feels impossible to grasp. Me, drive a car? Haha. Me contribute to a paradigm shift? Haha–no, hell yeah. If I’m climbing Everest I need to plan and prep. And I reach a summit not by snapping my fingers but by continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
    Tip: Write out anything you can think of to achieve that dream. Add dates to start knocking them out.
  3. My passions and goals were too broad. For example, I’m passionate about Youth Advocacy, a nice umbrella for everything I want to support youth with. And it’s easier to talk broad than harder topics like eg sexual abuse prevention. But when I examine what’s burning in my heart like a furnace, it’s indeed that hard topic I want to fight to the end.
    (Extra: The book “Nooit Meer te Druk: Een Opgeruimd Hoofd in een Overvolle Wereld”/ “Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much,” (Tony Crabbe) explains we often use “yes/no” instead of “which” to make decisions. Basically, with “yes/no” we often choose yes, but “which” is harder and puts all options on the table. In a case study of business take-overs, those who used “yes/no” had more companies but less success, while corps using “which”-thinking took fewer companies but with higher success.)

The next time someone asks for your help or input, remember: you don’t have to say yes, and you do have the right to your own programme and goals.

We only get one shot at this life, let’s not let it be “lived” by others.

We may not catch our dreams right away, in fact, if we’re dreaming big enough we shouldn’t, but maybe these tips inspire you to clear up and make space for them. Go for it. You were born for this.


How are you clearing your agenda and making space/time for the things that really matter to you? Share your tips and experience in the comments below! ❤

Great speech on eg Failing Big and aspiring not just to make a living, but to make a difference:

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