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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

Ask a busy person

“If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Benjamin Franklin.


Are you a busy person?

Are you really good at doing a lot of things? Wearing a lot of hats? Juggling all the tasks?


If you asked me that question, I would probably answer yes.

But there would be a little glimmer of discontent or uneasiness under that answer.

What about you?


Sure, you’re getting everything done but at the end of the day you have less than zero energy.

And maybe it just started with helping out a coworker or agreeing to be on a committee. Maybe it's picking up some extra shifts or running all the “necessary” errands after work.


Maybe you’re one of those people who makes cupcakes for the class party.


We do ALL THE THINGS, sometimes by saying yes and sometimes by just adding more to our plate because “someone has to do it.”


And we tell ourselves we can handle it, we don’t have a choice but TO handle it.

We ARE handling it.


Sort of.


Accomplishing things is a little different than handling things, and even handling things is more of a spectrum than an all or nothing result.


Handling things isn’t dependent on the number of tasks or the energy involved to complete them. It is dependent on our resources, how much we have protected and built our stores of energy and support.


But if we are spending all our energy doing all the things, chances are our stores are running low.


You know how I know? Because it’s exactly where I am sitting right now, realizing that I need to slow my roll, look at my commitments, and take an evening to do something that restores me.


I didn’t have any big breakdown, I wasn’t even doing things that I didn’t WANT to be doing.

But I felt the familiar pull of fatigue, sweet talking me into blowing off everything to go to bed.


It’s 7pm.


And I have been consistently getting enough sleep.


It is most definitely NOT bedtime.


This fatigue is the ninja-like first sign of burnout. It sneaks up on you under the guise of things that “have to get done”.


Except I know to look for it. No ninja creepers on my watch. I am NOT going down that road again.


So I delay bedtime for at least another hour and I sit down to see what I’m really feeling right now.

This is important because when we are busy, we don’t have to think about how we feel, we can just keep moving.

But never checking in with how we are feeling COMPOUNDS the fatigue. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of energy to not feel your feelings. It takes energy to stay SOOO busy that we don’t have time to feel things.


Now don’t worry, I am not going to drag you through all my emotions of the last few weeks. It’s exhausting enough for me without making you stressed out too. What I AM going to do is to tell you what I do when I feel this type of fatigue or overwhelm brewing.


I do a 2 minute check in. (Honestly, it usually takes longer than 2 minutes but calling it a 2 minute check in helps me commit to actually doing it. I mean, who can’t spare 2 minutes?)


Yes, I use my own mind games on myself.


So I sit down after dinner in the comfiest chair and pull out my notebook and handy dandy gel pen.

And I write on the top of the page.

HOW AM I FEELING?


I literally just check in and start a list. No flowery paragraphs, just a bulleted list. (You can take creative liberties here).

  • I acknowledge that I am a little anxious about the preparations for my son’s graduation party this weekend.

  • I am a little unsettled about the presentations I am giving in the next few weeks at multiple conferences. Not nervous, but unsettled.

  • I have some decisions to make about things that I am unsure of’.

As I write each one, I sit and just feel the physical sensation of the emotion that comes up. I notice how it feels in my body and I sit with the awareness of that feeling.


Yes, it sounds woo woo.

Yes it feels super awkward initially.

Yes, I want to check social media with every fiber of my being instead of sitting, trying to tap into my emotions.


But it truthfully is the missing link. We need to check in with how we are feeling or we will continue down the fatigue highway until we crash and burn. You don’t even necessarily need to change these emotions, you literally just need to sit with them. You need to give them their time in the sun.


If you ask me, sitting with some emotions periodically is a small price to pay to avoid the fatigue that comes from doing so much that you ignore yourself in the process.


I know it sounds like it should take something more dramatic.


Just because you can do everything doesn’t mean you should.

It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.


Just check in with how it is making you feel. Then you can decide where to go from there, a little bit restored by taking the time to check in.

 

P.S. Do you have no idea how to process your emotions? Do you feel like you just keep pushing through? Does this strategy sound simple and impossible at the same time? If you need help learning this skill, set up a free consult and let me show you how it works.

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