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How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule, and Reconnect with What Matters Most

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ISBN-10: 1400073197

ISBN-13: 9781400073191

Edition: N/A

Authors: Valorie Burton

List price: $13.99
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If you can't remember the last time you had time to read, then this book is for you. Are you exhausted from rushing through your days in a flurry of activity, then dropping into bed only to find your mind racing ahead to the next day's to-do list? Are you constantly playing catch-up at work and at home? Would you like to have more energy and time to invest in the people, activities, and goals that hold meaning for you? It's time to shed that burden of busyness. Join life coach Valorie Burton on a revitalizing 28-day journey to take back your schedule, reclaim your sanity, and replenish your energy. Through her proven techniques and valuable insights, you'll discover how to carve out…    
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Book details

List price: $13.99
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.28" wide x 7.95" long x 0.67" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

Valorie Burton is CEO of the Burton Agency, a Dallas based public relations firm she founded in 1996, as well as a motivational speaker. She was selected in October 2000 by PR Week magazine as one of the nation's "30 Under 30". She is a former Miss Black Texas USA, Miss Black USA Top Ten finalist, and third runner-up to Miss Texas. She lives in Dallas.

Introduction: How Busy Are You?
I think it is important that the question of managing time be addressed in a realistic manner. The reality is that everyone feels pressed for time and it is not going to change as we become more technologically advanced and everything we do can be done in an instant by allegedly "working smarter, not harder."
"I want to know, how do I find more time without cutting my standard of living?"
-Mona, 32
Do you find yourself rushing from one activity to the next, from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep at night? Has your to-do list grown from just a list in your day planner to scraps of paper and Post-its scattered all over your office and home? Is your social life disappearing because you don't have time for friends and fun? And do you feel that lately life has become the proverbial rat race-where you are constantly moving forward at an ever-more-frantic pace, yet experiencing very little of the joys and rewards life has to offer?
If you are like most people, you're probably running nearly all the time. I've been there, as have many of my clients over the years. No doubt you'd like for your schedule to be different, or have even found yourself thinking, "I really need to make a change." When "busyness" becomes all-consuming, many of us know deep down that something's got to give-but we're too busy to figure out how or what that change should be!
I believe that your path has crossed mine and that you've picked up this book for a reason: so that you can finally take control of your schedule, create room to breathe, and make time for the people and activities that matter most. The problem with being too busy is that you lose your sense of self. In the race to get it all done, you give up the experience of being fully engaged in anything. The joys of life, such as a meaningful conversation or a healthy, home-cooked meal, become hassles or impediments to getting other things done. The commitments you love, like your work or favorite hobbies, can become burdensome because they only add to your heavy load. Fortunately, change doesn't have to be difficult. It must, however, be intentional.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine your life filled with what brings you happiness, peace, and success-at a pace that feels good and with a level of activity that gives you energy rather than saps it. Your life can be different-just 28 days from now. It begins with your decision to change. I will help you delve deep ... so you can notice the fears that ultimately crowd your schedule with things you don't really want or need to do. I will help you get real about what you can actually accomplish in a day. And I will walk with you every step of the way.
Busyness was my way of life for years, and I was afraid to make a change-afraid that not being busy would mean my career would suffer, and hence my income would suffer, too; afraid that if I wasn't busy, then something must be wrong; and afraid to say "no" to people when their requests left me feeling overloaded with another "to-do." It wasn't until my busy lifestyle became a burden that I realized how out of balance my life was. Love and friendships take nurturing. Good health, a body you love, and time for rest and relaxation require intentional actions. All of this takes time, yes, but there is enough time in the day to do what you were created to do. They key is identifying what's essential at this stage of your journey. For the next 28 days, I will guide you step-by-step toward understanding how you've become so busy and taking the actions that will empower you to free your time, reclaim your schedule, and reconnect with what matters most.
To be clear, this book is not about time management. It's not about getting organized. It is about you. It is about helping you get clear about what has driven you to overload your schedule and create the kind of lifestyle that allows you enough space to be your best self, experience the best in your relationships, and reach your potential in your work. Of course, whenever we set out to make a change, there is often that little internal voice that begins chiming in with doubts and pessimism. "You don't really think you can take control of your schedule in just 28 days, do you? You want success and time to rest, have fun, and spend quality time with your spouse, significant other, family, and friends? Get real!" Refuse to let that voice dissuade you.
Getting real is exactly what you are doing. The way you've been living isn't working for you-that's the reality. And now is the time to do something about it.
As life moves faster, we are compelled to do more. As a result, our lives aren't just overloaded, but lived in overdrive. It is an epidemic that, for many of us, is spiraling out of control.
There's little time to live in the present because we're always focused on what needs to be done next. So we're here physically, but mentally we're ten minutes or even ten days into the future.
Isn't it draining to wake up daily and spend each day hurrying through a flurry of back-to-back activities, then fall into bed exhausted so that you can wake up and do it all over again? It's time to take back your schedule and your life. I've written How Did I Get So Busy? to help you do just that.
Most people look for the quick fix, but this book is an invitation to begin what I call a self-care lifestyle. That is, one in which your everyday life reflects who you truly are, engages you in the relationships and activities that you truly love, and gives you the opportunity to relax, reflect, and replenish your energy. If you prefer the simple fixes, you'll find some terrific high-impact ideas here that will help you lighten your load. But I hope that instead, you will accept my invitation and make lasting adjustments to adapt to a new way of living.
Many of the shifts I will encourage you to make are ones you've probably been longing to make for some time. Your journey through these pages will be a practical, but also a soul nourishing, one. It is not enough to talk about what you need to do differently; you must also take a deeper look at who you really are and the motivating forces and fears that drive you.
Without assessing our internal battles, it is impossible to make a permanent change. My goal is not only to help you become less busy, but also more fruitful, well rounded, and productive. My hope is that when you have finished this 28-day program, you will be inspired to adopt these changes as an ongoing way of life.
Before you begin taking steps to tame your overloaded lifestyle, let's find out just how busy you actually are.
How Busy Are You?
Go through the following list and check all of the statements below that are true for you; then give yourself one point for each statement checked: I feel as though I am constantly trying to catch up at work.
I feel as though I am constantly trying to catch up with personal responsibilities.
My life feels out of balance.
My breathing right now is shallow.
I am regularly late to appointments and scheduled activities.
There's rarely a break in my schedule.
My shoulders are not relaxed right now.
I eat lunch at my desk at least once per week.
I sometimes work straight through lunch.
I have not had a vacation longer than seven days in the last year.
A seven-day vacation? I've never even had one of those.
I have not gotten together with friends for fun and conversation in over a month.
Keeping up with household chores is a struggle because of time constraints.
I am dissatisfied with the amount of quality time I am able to spend with my spouse or significant other.
I am dissatisfied with the amount of quality time I am able to spend with my child.
I don't take time to exercise.
I resent the things I do for family or friends because I have little or no time for myself.
The fuel light in my car has come on at some point in the last two months because I have not had time to fill it up.
My mail is piled up because I haven't had time to open or sort it.
I have missed paying a bill on time in the last three months because I was too busy to notice the due date had passed.
I sometimes run out of socks, jeans, or other clothing items because I haven't had time to do the laundry.
I don't have time to write thank-you notes.
My to-do list rarely gets completely checked off for the day.
I work late more than once per week.
At least once per week, I skip meals because I am too busy.
Reality Check: How Busy Are You?
1 - 5 Points Busy
Your schedule is challenging at times, but you are managing to get by. A few small changes will make a big difference toward helping you to take complete control of your time.
6 - 10 Points Too Busy
Either life is becoming increasingly too busy for you, or you've been managing to get by but are starting to lose control. By taking action over these next 28 days, you can finally take charge of your schedule and decrease the stress that has been building.
11 - 16 Points Too Busy and Frustrated
Life has been hectic for a while and if you don't slow down soon and become more intentional about where and how you focus your time, you will soon burn out. It is essential that you begin to take steps now so you can get your life back.
17 - 25 Points Out of Control
I understand. I've been there. And it's possible for you to transform how you live so that your schedule is aligned with what's most important to you. It may require some big changes, but remember that change is about making choices. I will invite you to make those choices as we journey through these pages together.
Sometimes it takes a reality check like this one to help you see how busy you are. If busyness has overtaken you, there are signs that will tell you so-and I am glad to know you are listening.
Before writing this book, I surveyed more than 300 adults about the effects of busyness on their lives. Some are married (60%) while others are single (40%). Many are parents (61%).
The respondents have a variety of occupations-teacher, lawyer, administrative assistant, professional athlete, doctor, social worker, bus driver, web designer, consultant, corporate manager, stay-at-home mom, retiree, and sales associate, to name a few. Of these, 92% are between 25 and 54 years old, and 94% have at least some college education; 36% hold bachelor's degrees and 27% hold graduate degrees. You'll see their comments on the busyness of their lives throughout the pages of this book at the start of each chapter. I believe you'll see some of your own story reflected in their stories. Take a look at some of their eye-opening responses: More than 58% have not had a seven-day vacation in the last year.
15% have never had a vacation lasting at least seven days.
30% called in to the office to check voice mail on their last vacation.
Of the parents surveyed, 70% feel they do not spend enough time with their children.
Of those married or in a romantic relationship, 80% are no satisfied with the consistency and quality of time spent with their spouse or significant other.
54% get together with friends less than once a month.
55% have not had a friend over to their home in over two months.
39% feel that the most stressful aspect of their schedule is work demands.
38% say that the most stressful aspect of their schedule is keeping up with household chores.
80% say their schedule is somewhat or entirely overcommitted.
72% say that most of the time they feel they are trying to catch up with work and personal responsibilities.
76% say they feel busier now than they did five years ago.
The majority of those I surveyed and interviewed are simply not satisfied with the pace of their lives. How about you? Can you relate to some of the above statistics? It seems that many people find themselves racing through life, attempting to check off a series of never-ending to-do lists. In the process, too many neglect to carve out time for themselves and feel guilty about the lack of time they have for the important people in their lives. The speed at which we live and the expectations about how much we can each personally accomplish in a day have increased dramatically in recent years. No doubt you too have felt the pressure of these expectations.
The root of the busyness epidemic lies partly in the fact that many of us-whether we admit it or not-view our busyness as a badge of honor. "How are you doing?" we are asked, and we instinctively reply, "Oh, I'm so busy." If we are busy, we feel that we are accomplishing things, we are making an impact, we are living life to the hilt. But the truth is that busyness itself does not guarantee results. In fact, existing in perpetual overdrive often makes it harder to do anything well at all.
Let's take a look at some of the common myths about busyness- and where our whirlwind of activity falls short.
Busy Vs. Fruitful (Or Productive)
Let's clarify the difference between being busy and being productive.
The words are often used interchangeably. But they do not have the same meaning. Being productive means effectively accomplishing that which matters most. A productive salesperson, for example, would be the one who generates significant revenue in an abbreviated period of time. A busy salesperson is active, but may or may not be producing the right results.
Successful vs. Fulfilled
Another distinction that is important to make is the one between being successful and being fulfilled. By society's standards, a person is successful when they reap financial gain, status, prominence, or popularity. Being fulfilled is a joyful inner knowing that you are living, working, and loving in a way that satisfies you emotionally and spiritually as well.
Overflowing with Opportunity vs. Overrun with Activity
Overflowing with opportunity is about having myriad chances to do what you love and engaging in activities that are an expression of who and what is really important to you.
Overrun with activity is about having too much to do, including stuff that you don't want to do, doesn't fulfill your purpose, takes you farther away from who you truly are, or doesn't empower you to serve or contribute in a way that is meaningful to you.
When you are overrun with activity, it usually means you are ready to overhaul some major areas of your life. You are ready for a life makeover because the life you are living is not a full expression of your values and who you are.
Time for a "Busyness" Diet
The news reports say that we are now a nation of overweight, undernourished people. According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, 66 percent of adults over the age of twenty are overweight-32 percent are obese. Of course, those reports are referring to our eating habits. But as a life coach, I've noticed that eating isn't the only thing plaguing us in excess. It's an excess of obligations and commitments-and when it comes to everyday activities, we pile it on. Our schedules are bulging at the seams. The same phenomenon that has resulted in Americans being more overweight than ever has also resulted in our schedules being more demanding than ever. Over time, as portion sizes in restaurants have increased, so have our expectations of what we can reasonably accomplish in a day. Consider the similarities.