Today’s post is about time and how we spend it. There is a download for the journal pages at the end, and feel free to use this prompt however it helps you the most!
I used to be busy all the time. Busy, but not necessarily productive. Internally, my busy-ness justified all sorts of complaining, procrastination, negative self-talk, always being late, canceling plans at the last minute, ignoring injuries, avoiding responsibilities at home, and more. If I was getting work emails on the weekend, I would complain about it. If I wasn’t getting work emails on the weekend, I would worry about why that was. When I didn’t have something to worry about, I felt lost and empty. Anxiety would rush into the empty spaces, and it felt like I was suffocating. Cluttering my mind with tasks allowed me to avoid thinking about it for a while, so that’s what I did.
Eventually I had to face reality. For all that busy-ness, I wasn’t very productive. Sure, I got a lot of stuff done… but I was awake for 20 hours every day compared to most people’s 16-18. The ratio wasn’t very good. Plus, I was never satisfied with my efforts and always felt like I didn’t have enough time to do a good job. If I had plans in the afternoon, for example, I would struggle to focus my efforts on my other tasks in the morning and afternoon, frequently resulting in me accomplishing little throughout the day and then leaving late for my planned activities, or missing them entirely. I tried to compensate by not making any plans during the week, but that just made me boring and almost resentful of anyone who expressed an interest in spending time together. Didn’t they know how BUSY I was???
My busy-ness seemed like a noble excuse until I realized that other people talked about their busy-ness in order to make plans, not to skip them or excuse a failure. For all the activity going on in my life, I wasn’t achieving the things I really wanted, and I finally got called out for it. (Be thankful for the friends who are kind enough to risk your anger in order to tell you the things you need to hear.) After taking a step back to process what was said, I decided to process a few instances of my excuse-making in my journal.
I wrote about what happened, how I felt, what I wanted to happen… the first few times it was pretty clinical sounding. But as I asked the questions, the answers started to pop up… briefly at first, then louder and more sustained. Patterns started to emerge, and one that I came to understand was that I had been using creative energy to distract myself from fear. The source of the fear is pretty deeply rooted in my psyche, so what is important for you to know is that the events that triggered it were nowhere near the scale of importance my subconscious was assigning to it. Acting within that fear state, nothing I accomplished could possibly resolve the initial fear, so I would press on, accumulating more and more distractions, but never alleviating the core anxiety that kept my foot on the gas pedal.
Once I had figured this out, I was better able to recognize the signs that I was approaching that fear state, and course-correct. And since I recognized that much of my busy-ness was serving a purpose of keeping me safe from an unknown enemy, I had a very important tool that I could use to redirect my energy toward my goals! And it all started by asking myself the question… is this really about time? What is all of this activity for, anyway?
If any of this sounds familiar to you or piques your interest, give the journal prompt a try! And consider downloading the journal pages below… they’re free! 🙂 Thanks for reading!