Challenges & Growth Areas

How Do You Handle Busyness?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Travis, Jody, Terry and Sarah discuss how to effectively handle busyness. They also talk about what would happen if you built margin time into your life?

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: Welcome to The Journey Podcast. Today, the voices that I want to introduce are we’ve got Sarah coming back today.

Sarah: Hello.

Terry: And we’ve got Travis.

Travis: Hi, everybody.

Terry: And we have Jody.

Jody: Hey there.

Terry: And this is Terry. I guess I should have introduced myself to begin with.

Sarah: Hi Terry.

Terry: Hello.

Sarah: It’s weird to call you that, she’s my mom so…

Terry: Yeah well, that’s okay. One of the topics that we kind of decided on that we wanted to talk about today that seems really relevant for a lot of people is the topic of busyness. As I don’t suppose anyone of you guys have difficulty with that.

Travis: I have no problems with busyness whatsoever.

Sarah: No, not at all.

Travis: No.

Terry: You’re very happy being very busy?

Travis: No. No. No. Maybe where we start is we drop all of our reasons why we’re so incredibly busy. So I’ll just start. And so I work a full-time job which is a thing and then I also, we plant house churches on the side which is another thing, and then I have a wife and four kids and an adoptive daughter and so there is no end to business in that mix, most of the time. Okay. So now somebody else’s turn. Sarah, why are you so busy?

Sarah: Well, I have six kids, so let’s start right there. And a husband and two dogs and a business and friends, who I love. And family, who I love. So that’s why I’m busy. And I try to get to Ethiopia. So I’ve been four times and I’m waiting, it’s been a while. That’s actually a pretty big deal too so that’s all my busyness, yeah.

Travis: Yeah.

Jody: For me, we actually, my husband, Dan, and I have just one daughter so it’s kind of nice actually, to have a very a variation here among the three of us. So we have a daughter, her name is Tara and she’s 14 years old. Which, high school-

Travis: Oh my god, yeah.

Jody: … is an interesting thing but I think one of the elements that’s very real for us is that yeah, we only have four years, less than now, that we have with her, likely under our roof.

Terry: It goes by so fast.

Jody: Yeah. And I think that’s a perspective shifter too when it comes to this topic of business.

Terry: It seems like there’s a lot of urgency when you say that four years. It seems like such a lot of urgency in that we need to kind of make the most of those four years. And urgency can be a big time consumer. It’s like, “We’ve got this urgency and that’s one of the reasons why we keep busy because we’ve got to keep moving.”

Jody: Right. Yeah. And we don’t want to miss anything. That’s really important for me. That’s my whole life. I just don’t want to miss out on anything and so we feel we need to seize every and any opportunity that comes our way out of the risk of missing out on something. I’m also in full-time ministry so I’m a pastor in a church that’s got a lot going on. A fairly large church with lots of ministries and lots of things happening, there’s never a dull moment and so just that whole mix of whether it’s family or work, we just bring different things to this topic of busyness.

Terry: Well, and I think there’s a lot of upside to busyness, we get a lot done. We can accomplish a lot of the things we want to. What are some of the downsides of busyness?

Sarah: Stress and the effect it has on your body.

Terry: Sure.

Travis: Right. Yeah. I just got done with a really large project, a two year project at work and, I mean, on top of everything else, we were working extra hours and burning the candle at both ends and getting less sleep and eating less healthy and all of the… You don’t realize how much rest and not being busy has efficiency built into it. And so, as you become busier, you actually become, at least I noticed, I became less efficient in the process. I was getting less done even though I was trying to do more. And that was kind of hard to recognize, in multiple areas of my life.

Sarah: Yeah. Exactly. Actually I was with a bunch of business owners yesterday and one of them is a physical therapist and he was actually talking about that. He mentioned resiliency. Resiliency? Am I saying that correctly?

Travis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Yep.

Sarah: And I asked him, I said, “Well, what does that have to do with physical therapy and your health?” And he went off on that about how adrenaline and he talked about… He talked a lot about adrenaline, it’s made for a purpose but if we keep running on adrenaline, it lowers our immune system and we actually end up having issues with our body as a result. One being, there’s a lot of effects with pain and illness and stuff that runs when you’re running on adrenaline for too long.

Travis: Right.

Terry: I think another casualty of business is relationships. Sometimes it’s hard to have… We have important relationships but we can’t really get to them.

Jody: Yeah. We don’t invest in them in a important sort of intentional way and that can really take a toll over the long haul, right?

Terry: Absolutely.

Travis: I find too that when you’re busy, you don’t get to step back and make sure that you’re focusing on the most important things. So typically, when I get busy, one of the things that helps snap me out of it is realizing, okay, I’ve actually mis-prioritized a bunch of different thing sin my life because I’ve been focusing on keeping, to use the analogy we used in of the other podcasts, keep this one plate spinning. And I’m letting all these other plates that are spinning kind of wobble out of control. And so frequently mis-prioritizing things happens.

Terry: It seems like a lot of times we’re letting the urgent things crowd out the important things.

Travis: Exactly.

Terry: Some things are urgent but they’re not necessarily as important as some of the other things and yet, the things that are very important and not so urgent kind of get lost.

Sarah: I struggle with this with… So Ethiopian culture or African culture in general is very focused on relationships. And so I’ve studied a lot and have a lot of friends, both in… So there’s this warm climate culture and cold climate cultures. And cold climate cultures tend to be more focused on business and working and that’s how you support your family. Where as in warm climate culture tend to be more focused on relationships and that’s how you survive, is on the relationships that you have with everybody else.

Sarah: And so we live in Iowa which is a cold climate culture and I spend a significant amount of my time, energy and relationships in Ethiopia culture which is a warm climate culture and this is incredibly hard balance. Because right now I’m so busy with my business which is definitely cold climate culture focus and priorities, yet my warm climate culture relationships are actually suffering.

Sarah: I have African friends, not just Ethiopian but Congolese but Burundi friends who live in the Easter Iowa area and I know that my relationships with them are suffering and it would almost be like if you were doing a bad job at work, in our cold climate culture. We literally are doing something wrong if we’re doing a poor job at work. I’m literally doing something by having this poor relationship just because I’m so busy and it’s just really, it’s stress. It stresses me out because relationships are really important and there is this balance that you need to find between the relationships that you have and…

Sarah: I know that’s opening a whole other door about different cultures and stuff too.

Jody: I think another dynamic is that sometimes we lose track of what’s even happening in our own lives and it is a really great segway to journey coaching to have another person come alongside you or a couple other people come alongside you, weekly even, is possible or every other week, something like that, to hear what’s really going on and offer and outside perspective. Because sometimes things are just too close to us and maybe lament. We see, we hear, we feel the pain of something that needs our attention and we just can’t get to it.

Jody: But somebody, sometimes outside of us can say, “Well, have you thought about this?” Or they can ask some questions that help us get after how we need to evaluate that. Maybe even sometimes just an incremental shift in the way we spend our mornings that can open something up.

Terry: And what would happen if you built margin time into your life? And margin time, we haven’t really discussed that much but margin time is where you really put some time in and you don’t have… It’s a place on your calendar with, there’s nothing during your day or during your week. And what would that look like if you had margin time? The next time a friend ends up in the hospital and you are too busy to go up and see them, that margin time would make that possible.

Jody: Yeah. Absolutely.

Sarah: I think The Journey helps with that in terms of the fact that you can go off either extreme. In terms of time management and your relationships and what you take and what your priorities and everything like that. So what I like about Journey is that it helps create time for those relationships which in, quite frankly in… I was born and raised here so I don’t know much but from I am understanding about Eastern Iowa culture, because I’m so immersed in it is that we don’t focus on our… We’re so independent. We’re a farming a community. Even if we’re living in the city.

Sarah: Our ancestors, the traditions that were passed down to us, as people who are born and raised in Eastern Iowa is we’re very independent. We don’t need other people. We don’t need to sit down and spend time with a friend. But we do. But that’s the thing is, we don’t think we do but we do. And Journey opens the door for creating opportunities to have those relationships because we need to learn from other cultures. Like warm climate cultures. People who are very relational based. We can learn from that and fulfill our human needs for companionship and relationship and Godly ways, so.

Terry: So I guess, to summarize. What can, and again this is a Journey podcast so how can Journey help us with the idea of busyness?

Travis: Well, I think one of the things that’s really helpful is just to step back and look at what you’re giving your time and energy to because I think, we don’t talk about the end of the journey process, but one of the most helpful chapters, I think, for me, was how am I aligning my time with the things that I’m strongest in, probably the things that most of us around the table would say we’re called to, and give ourselves to? And I think that was, for me, what was one of the most important things, is okay, how can I weed out the things that maybe aren’t so crucial to life but I’ve kind of just let them…

Travis: It’s like a garden that you’ve let kind of overcrowd with weeds. It’s kind of sapping the life out of the soil. How can I weed some of those things out so that the things that I really want to grow in this garden, called my life actually, grow and flourish?

Terry: That’s a great way to say it.

Sarah: Yeah. And doing that in both… It’s twofold because in both taking the time to have that relationship with your coach to go through the journey participant guide together and having that time set aside where you’re meeting for coffee, or lunch or breakfast or whatever it is, you’re creating time there and then building that relationship. But then, in the process of what you’re actually looking at, while you’re doing it, while you’re actually going through the journey workbook, you’re talking about, like what Travis is talking about, your strengths and helping to…

Sarah: I heard a quote and I don’t know who it was but something about… As soon as I say this someone’s going to be to tell me who said this. But successful people say no and highly successful say no often. Or most of the time.

Travis: I’ve heard the quote. I can’t tell you who says it but I’ve heard it.

Sarah: So whoever’s listening to this can Google it and figure out who it was that said that but that’s the thing is-

Travis: Some really smart said…

Sarah: Someone really smart says that. And I think that going through the coaching process, you’re helping… It’s looking at who you are and what you’re gifted at, what your priorities are, what’s going on in your life and helping to make decisions based off of that. So I’d say twofold.

Jody: Yeah. And almost a flip, what you just said, in a cool way, probably successful, healthy, well-balanced people who are helping people know Jesus are people who say yes often.

Sarah: Yes.

Jody: What is it? And say yes a lot. Or how is it?

Sarah: Well, oh, yeah. Say yes-

Jody: But to the right things.

Sarah: Yeah to the right things. Yeah, that’s the other thing because when you’re saying yes to something, you’re saying no to something else and so going through the journey process, it helps you know what to say yes to and what to say not to so that you can really say yes to the things you really want to say.

Terry: That’s perfect. I think this is a good place for us to wrap it up for now. But that was a really good way of describing it. Thank you very much being here.

Sarah: Thank you for listening, you guys.

Travis: Yes.

Jody: Thank you.

Sarah: Tune in next time and we’ll see you soon. Bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoachin.org.