Until recently I was always busy, now I am considerably less so. Life is calmer, stress levels have fallen and I am achieving a great deal more. Sorry, let me just run that by you again: I am achieving a great deal more. I am really.
I am a list maker, there is nothing that (used) to fill me with a greater sense of potential than a list, a really, really long list. Frequently I would make tremendous headway, crossing things off with a sense of superiority (“look at me, see how productive and hard working I am”) and an increasingly weary heart (except for the day Amanda introduced me to Red Bull, which was an enlightening experience but one whose repetition has been forbidden by all who had to live with me that day). Some days I was equally busy but with things that were not on my list. On those days I had to persuade myself that I had been productive even thought there were precious few thick black lines in my notebook (I have a book just for lists …). Some days I did nothing at all on my list, let the day take its own shape and realised that I had achieved great things (friendship, a good book, knitting, writing as well as sometimes housework and paperwork and the stuff that keeps the swan gliding on the pond), AND I was relaxed and happier at the end of the day.
So I still make lists, but I am more circumspect. I write down mainly two types of job. First those things that must be done but I am liable to forget (eg ring Vet, send tax return etc) and then on a separate list those things that it would be useful to get done but are not urgent for today (eg. put away the ironing, prune gooseberries). In the meantime I have read three books that I have been wanting to read (actually reread) for ages; spent hours playing with my mood book (a sort of mood board/picture jotter sort of book); almost finished a cardigan, sorted out a plot dead end in my next novel, spent more time with friends and managed to fit in daily meditation and journalling every day for over a month.
The house has not fallen down, the family are still reasonably well clothed and fed and I have even done the flipping invoices. I have stopped being busy with stuff and started being busy with my own life and I know which I prefer.