London, UK

Always busy? It's time for some magic

“You do not need to be busy all the time, part of creating is to observe with a still mind”

Did anyone notice when being busy became so glamorous? The runway of modern life has us all walking the catwalk, right? I see the trend play out, daily. Take this morning’s coffee run.  Girl in front of me places order for three lattes, frantically tapping on her phone. Solo, sweaty barista whips them up, eyeing the que, now out the door. “Can I change those to cappuccinos?” girl squeals at him as he puts on the last lid. By now girl is waving her phone in the air like it’s a trophy, “busy morning” she triumphs to the rest of us. I felt bad for the guy, and the wasted lattes. 

What is this ‘busy’ state we all flock to, like honey to the bee? We live in a world where food, dates and zoom meetings are available at the touch of a button. We have exchanged libraries for google and letters for instant emails, yet we can’t seem to wait to go faster. So, what are we all ‘I’m busy’ doing? I have done some digging and found it translates mostly to  ‘frantic days fuelled by an OTT coffee habit.’ What gives? We do actually, and learning this lesson has been life changing. Like all trends, ‘the busy mind’ is optional, let me explain.

What’s the rush? 

I have been that girl in the coffee shop, I think we all have, no?  Those days where we forget to call our Mum, order the wrong size, press send too soon on an email and wonder if mercury’s gone retrograde? The chaos is exhausting. As a writer it makes life tricky, if not impossible. Part of creating is to observe with a still mind. A busy mind is like a broken computer, that’s why we tend to fall apart. Burn out? Anxiety? Fatigue? Sound familiar?  Our relationship with time is as precious as our finances, partners, family and friends. Just like overdoing it on our wardrobe depletes our bank balance, hyper-ambitious time management depletes our sense of self. That sense of self is the place we create our magic from, so how can we nurture that place without giving up the day job? 

The magic

Not so long ago I got myself into a bit of a tizz, why? On paper, I had everything I wanted. A headful of ideas, on creative fire, all the time I needed to put it to use. Hoorah. Cut to one week in and panic struck. All this was swell though I didn’t feel ‘busy’. When I say busy it’s the conventional view of being busy. A jam- packed diary, running from one place to the next, networking, socialising, parties etc. It didn’t take me long to jump back on the band wagon. Ignoring my inner voice, the creative compassion writers need to do their thing, I rushed headlong back into the world of busy. That four letter word that peppers every other conversation. My new busy mind had little time for creativity, and before long, I knew it was time to get back to the source. You know the place I am talking about. The blissful state where we feel our best selves, in creative flow, dancing with life and smiling at strangers. The place we make our best decisions. We know when to say no, when to jump and when to rest. The more we can be that person the better right? And being busy gets us all out of whack. I know the way back, and it only takes an hour a day to get there. I only ask that you make time for this hour. If that means an earlier night or an earlier rise, do it you will thank yourself. Just like it takes a masseuse time to work his way into your knots, it takes creativity time to hunker down and find the magic in the stillness. Ready to choose your magic hour? Take a scroll through the list below.

 Pick one a day, like a juicy apple, consider it your creative nutrition. The magic of this hour will be life changing for creativity and your wellbeing. I come back to it whenever I feel myself slipping into the nonsense of “busy-ness”. If you are snapping “I’m busy” one too many times a day, it may be time to try some magic.

  • One hour’s walkies

Like many of us I re-discovered the joy of walking in lockdown, an hour’s morning walk before I connect with the world is mind tonic. Leave your phone at home, observe what’s around you the colours, the sounds, the people passing by. The more you engage with the moment, the stiller your mind becomes and the better prepared you will be for a great day.

  • One hours reading

Slowly. Who’s guilty of skimming through a magazine in five minutes? My hands up, so I changed what I was reading. Choose a magazine or book you enjoy, pour yourself a tea (iced if its summer, naturally) and engage with the writing, by the time you close the page you will have learned something!

  • One hours writing for yourself

It doesn’t matter what, let it flow, write about the weather, your favourite foods, how you really feel about your job? Let all the noise out of your head and by the time you emerge from your ranting reflections, your mind will feel lighter.

  • One hour massage 

Yes really! When my mind is spinning like a Ferrari this is my go -to. What I have learned is the more our mind tells us to keep going, the more we need to indulge in slowing it down. If that requires a massage, I am all for it. Productivity is not fuelled by over working. Rest, play and joy are at the heart of success and that includes treating yourself to the magic of stillness. Yes, you deserve it, and if you need a good masseuse, I have his number!

As you head back into your day, go a little slower and see what happens. A daily dose of mind stilling keeps creating fun, to do lists bare-able and turns work into play. Give it a try, all it takes is a little trust and a little magic!