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How to overcome busyness

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Feb 01, 2022

There is one aspect that I think I have really enjoyed about the summer break, and that’s having time and space. 

Time and space to connect with the girls and chat about the very random stuff that comes into their heads.

Time and space to pause and reflect, as I mentioned in last week's post <click here to read>, it was wonderful to be able to unplug and tune in to my thoughts and feelings.

Time and space to chat casually with hubby over a glass of vino.

Time and space to phone friends and chat about what’s been happening.

I could go on, but I think you get my point… it’s been really wonderful having time and space.

Then I was chatting with a friend the other day, and she had a similar experience over the summer. Time to pause and just be. Then we both laughed how it won't be long and we will be ‘busy’ again. School goes back this week, and the list of ‘things’ will start up again.

When we said it, we did laugh, but I also noticed how it changed our tones slightly. Maybe a sense of dread started to creep in?

I can’t wait to be busy again, said no one…ever! 

We also get to a point where we get so busy with life, we start to wear it as a badge of honour. When you meet up with someone, the standard “how are you?” is answered with “busy!” Is this how we really want our lives to be?

When we are too busy, we constantly rush. We are not in tune with what’s really going on. We can make poor choices because we don’t take the time to seek all the information. Sometimes we even snap at our family when we really don't mean it.

So, when we know how much we treasure time and space, how do we ensure we keep some of that when life restarts after a break?

This week I’m sharing my top three tips to ensure you keep some time and space in your life.

Tip 1 - Prioritise

The key to keeping busyness at bay is to know what is important to you. Focus on the things that are important and prioritise them, you don’t have to do everything 100% in life. Some things that aren’t important can be done with a little less vigour. Those things that are really important, make them the priority. 

Sitting with my girls and talking at the end of the day is a priority for me, checking who’s liked my social media posts not so much.

Packing the girls a healthy lunch box for school is a priority for me, getting my hair ‘done’ before I leave the house not so much.

Sharing a walk with a friend and connecting while exercising is a priority for me, going out for lunch or shopping not so much.

I know I’m being basic, but you can quickly see how when you prioritise you can choose to do the things that make sense in your life. 

Tip 2 - Say NO sometimes

If you do the first tip, this next one will be easier for you. If you are clear on your priorities, you know what is important to you. So when you are invited to do this, or asked to do that, or someone suggests you would be good at this… you will immediately know if it fits with your priorities or not.

If something is not aligned with your priorities and what’s important to you, there is absolutely no harm in saying “no thank you” or “actually now isn’t the best time for me to do that”. 

When we arrived in Auckland 2 years ago, I was immediately invited to join the PTA and get involved. My answer, “I absolutely love being involved, but right now isn’t the best timing for me, however please do keep me in mind for ad hoc activities where you need an extra pair of hands.” And I have been invited to do some wonderful things, like decorating the Christmas Tree for the Junior School, without compromising on my time and energy.

When friends say to me “we should catch up for a coffee” I naturally suggest a walk after the school drop off. I get to combine my exercise with a lovely catch up with a friend, but I don’t give up much needed time to work.

Have you thought about things you could say no to? As you can see from the examples I give, it doesn’t have to be a hard NO, just find a way that is better for yourself.

Tip 3 - Establish positive routines

I am a big believer in the power of routines, routines are essential for a happy, functioning family. If you create your routines as a family then everyone is clear what’s expected of them and when. 

We have ours on the fridge at home, the girls can check it and do what’s next on their list - in the mornings, after school, getting ready for bed.  

Routines remove the angst and nagging feeling that can lead to a feeling of overwhelm and busyness. So if you haven’t already thought about your family routines, now is a great time to start!

If you would like chat about these tips and how you can take back control of your life, book your free discussion now -


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