Breaking the busyness habit

I’ve got into a bad habit recently. Every time I get more than about two minutes when I’m at home and not doing something baby related I spring into action; check email, wash up, drag washing out of washing machine/stuff things into washing machine, move the 100 pairs of shoes back upstairs that have snuck down during the night (does this happen in your house too?), check our online banking, deal with the pile of post and so on and so on. I can’t seem to fight the compulsion to do things – now! I know why. I’m still surfing the shock waves from having a baby. In the early days it was difficult to get much done during the day; having a shower, making a sandwich and getting dressed (quite possibly in that order) was a full days worth of activity. I felt really frustrated about not being able to keep on top of things like the laundry, the shopping, cooking, filing and so on. And, yes, Husband did step up but his version of clean and tidy and mine are two different things.  

However, now Baby is no longer a newbie I do get little pockets of time throughout the day while she’s busy playing or having a (sadly very short!) nap. The urge to fill these pockets of time with the constant round of nagging chores is overwhelming. It’s the sheer novelty of actually being to get them done that I think is driving me on.

I also keep mentally starting on different projects that could fill these pockets of time. In a few years time I might change careers and I keep looking at related courses I could do. I want to get new cushions and make my own covers. The urge to do some creative writing keeps getting stronger. I ought to be excercising more, particularly while I am still on maternity leave. If I could just spend a bit longer on meal planning I could eat more healthily, lose weight and still stay in budget. And what about the house? I’m not getting any of the work done that needs to happen before we can go on the market. And there is still more clutter in my house that could go and things that could be reorganised to be more efficient. I spent six years getting a degree in Literature and I might lose everything I learned if I only read drivel. There are loads of things that I’d like to do but I can’t do all of them. Actually, I can’t do many of them, not right now. I recently responded to a post over at Shopaholly by mentioning a great quote I heard (but can’t remember the source of, sorry) which goes something along the lines of ‘I could do anything, but I can’t do everything.’.

This is something that really resounded with me and I keep trying to make myself remember it. Although I think this quote is really aimed at major life decisions (what career to choose, what country to live in, what type of life to lead) I think it works well for the smaller stuff too. There will be a time for thinking more about my career (probably when Baby starts school), there will be a time when I can do some writing (maybe when my brain doesn’t feel like it is flatlining), there will be a time when we can afford to go on adventures abroad again. The world won’t come to an end if my house isn’t in show room condition. However, getting through the day will be difficult if I don’t keep on top of things like washing up and ‘stuff’ all over the floor.

The only real time I get to myself are the few hours after Baby has gone to bed and before I go up myself. I spend all day thinking ‘I’ll get that done tonight’ but by the time the evening rocks around I’m just too tired and switched off.

I’m trying to come up with a few simple strategies to get around this; things that will take in account what I actually need to get done (particularly as I’m going back to work soon) and ways to drop what I don’t. I’ll post again over the next few days and let you know if I’ve figured it out! I’ve got to stop trying to fill every second, not just with chores but with my little projects too.

Am I alone in this or does anyone else share this bad habit?!

Categories: Ramblings | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Breaking the busyness habit

  1. lisa


    I know what you mean about being busy all the time, i have a 4 year old daughter whos started nursery and i orig thought ahh 3 hrs to myself, but nooo im washing ,baking,cleaning etc you name it !

  2. You are not alone in this at all. I do think there is untold value in a little me time, whether it’s ‘busy’ or not, it’s doing something that you want to do for yourself. If I don’t get enough of it I can get quite frustrated and not good to be around. Doing something productive does make you feel like you’ve achieved something, but also lying on the bed day dreaming for 10 mins is probably more refreshing.

    I never feel like I have enough time, but carve a little day dreaming time out in the bath, in the car, at work (shouldn’t admit that….but an office job can allow you to drift for 5 mins!).

    I have also started an evening course in crochet – something I was determined to do, but never found the time to teach myself. I am loving this time out to do something just for me (that seems so non-essential) and can’t wait for Tuesday nights now.

    So go ahead….get yourself some day dreaming time in quick smart!

  3. Alison B43

    A couple of years ago when I went self employed, it was partly to fit around my husband’s shift pattern, but also to give myself at least one day to myself. Unfortunately, I have fallen into the trap of ‘filling’ this extra day with ‘things’ – dentist, extra food shopping, and other chores, or the essential (ie non-essential) internet searches, rubbish tv and quick read magazines, or even worse, taking on extra work! Initially much of my work was carried out at home, and I found I was less and less focussed on this too, so have more recently started to travel back & forth to work, and this does help with the work/life balance. Now I am back to working on site 4 long days a week and catching up with chores at home on Fridays – so still no extra time for me and my hobbies. Yes, I think we can all agree, you are not alone!

  4. I can completely relate to what you are saying. My son is 17months old now and I’m the same as you. I work 3 days a week, but on my days “off” I try to fill every little pocket of time. I’m trying to train myself to think that it doesn’t matter and not everything needs to be done. I also decide to do things in the evening and find I’m too tired, but again, I think I set my sights too high and just need to attempt one thing! I have no advice, but rest assured your not alone in feeling/thinking like this!!!

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