Busy – The New Normal 1/06

January 2006

Do you know anyone who isn’t busy? Someone who also has a pulse, that is. It doesn’t matter if you have six kids or an empty nest; if you’re a CEO or Joe Blow. You tend to fill the time you have.

The sad truth is, for a vast majority of people, busy is the new normal. The sooner we accept that, and make it work for us, the better off we will be. P. Silas of Phillips Petroleum said, “We can’t wait for the storm (of change) to pass. We’ll all have to learn to work in the rain.”

Clients and would-be clients often tell me, “As soon as I get over this ______ I can get serious about working out/coaching, etc."

If you’re waiting for the perfect time to make your health and wellness a priority, you will never get past waiting. You will always be too busy to do what you want to do.
If you work in the rain, it means you’re able to live in the present, storm clouds and all. Look around and you will see people who are indeed very busy, who manage to fit in a workout.

Entrepreneur Linda Maul is a good example. Within a long workweek that includes travel and grandchildren, Linda manages a variety of activities from pool to pavement. “I absolutely love it when I commit to the time. I always feel energized afterwards. I couldn’t be without exercise, as it really does alleviate the stress in my world. Consistency remains a challenge because of my travel schedule, but I adapt my program to fit the week.”

Not only does physical activity build energy and make you more productive, so does eating right. Pay attention to how you feel and how effective you are when you don’t eat well. You will probably find that eating low-quality foods contributes to your stress load by creating hills and valleys in your energy and appetite. Eating well does not take more time, it takes planning, which saves time. It’s much like creating an agenda for a meeting. You know what happens when there isn’t one.

You do have time to exercise and eat well. You can’t afford not to. Of course there will be times when you just can’t fit in the squash game and you need to wait for the storm to pass. Dry yourself off and start again. Most of the time it’s best to stick to the agenda; only you know for sure.

So how do you adapt to the new normal so you can sing in the rain? Accept that your life is busy and make it work. In other words, stop waiting for when you won’t be busy. Create an agenda.

In so doing, it’s important to know yourself and just how much busy-ness you can and want to handle. If you are continually exhausted and overwhelmed you’re trying to do too much. It’s time to re-evaluate your priorities. Working from a hospital bed just isn’t attractive.

Meanwhile, check your pulse. If you have one, there is still time to make changes.