I have events on my many color-coordinated calendars, projects I’m trying to make happen, people I’m trying to connect with, errands to run, emails to get through and things that come up. And I’m not complaining about it. Ultimately, I like being busy, it’s how I choose to live my life, but I have noticed that being busy occasionally leads to things other than feeling like a super-powered productive badass. Sometimes it leads to me missing things, dropping the ball, dealing with competing commitments, feeling out of sorts and, worst of all, feeling like I’ve run around working all day while still not really getting what I want. I have moments when I regret that there are only 24 hours in a day. Why isn’t all of this “being busy” actually producing the results I hoped?
Normally when things get busy and I start to feel that squeeze of commitments my immediate reaction is just to power through. I don’t ask anyone for help, I don’t reach out for support, I don’t take particularly good care of myself, I grit my teeth and plow through as many tasks as I can fit into a day. Unsurprisingly, this method is actually pretty effective for crushing a to-do list but it always leaves me feeling drained. I finished all the things I thought I wanted to do, but at the same time I’ve lost my zest, destroyed my passion, and obscured my inspiration for doing all of that stuff in the first place.
You might now be thinking, “Oh Raven, just take it easy, slow down a little bit” but remember: I am a busy person. It’s in my DNA, I bleed Google calendar colors, you may as well say “Oh Raven, try being a fish for a little bit”. I don’t want to be a fish. I want to be me. And I do not do “take it easy”. When things are going well, I often add on more stuff because it’s hard for me to accept that things are too good. When I’m not busy I get bored and being bored often results in my taking on more commitments and adding even more to my plate to defeat that boredom. I’ve realized that the solution for me isn’t doing less -- the solution is increasing my capacity.
When this concept of increased capacity was first introduced to me I was like, “hold on: I already do as much as I possibly can do, no way, this isn’t for me.” There are still only 24 hours in a day, and I really like to sleep for at least 8 of them. I can’t alter time no matter how much I might want to. But what I can alter is how I’m using that time and more importantly what I am able to do within that time. Think of it like running a marathon. I hate running, I wouldn’t even run a mile right now even if you promised me ice cream afterwards, but there are people who do it. People who train and work and dedicate themselves to slowly improving and then one day they run for 26.2 freaking miles without taking a break. I plan to never, ever, run a marathon in my life, but as a human being I recognize that I have the capacity to run that far if I wanted to. The same is true for my time management. I have the ability to increase my capacity. I can train and work and practice being the dynamic and productive person I want to be. So this week, I’m leaning in, I’m pushing the boundaries of what I previously thought was possible. I’m taking those first steps towards increasing my capacity. I’m dedicated to increasing my capacity for work, for joy, for love and relationships, for hopes and dreams, and for life.
What deserves your increased capacity? What steps will you take to increase your capacity today?