Do you regularly find yourself rushing from one thing to another, always in a hurry to this appointment, that event or find yourself with free time, and wondering how you can fill it? Or if you should be somewhere else? It’s time to break your busy habit.

According to a Harvard Business School survey of 1,000 professionals, 94 percent worked at least 50 hours a week, and almost half worked more than 65 hours. In addition, the Center for Creative Leadership conducted a survey of 483 executives, managers and professionals (EMPs), and found that 60 percent of those who carry smartphones for work are connected to their jobs 13.5 or more hours a day on weekdays and about five hours on weekends, for a total of about 72 hours, ultimately turning a 40-hour work week into a 72-hour work week.

It might be time to reevaluate what a normal pace of life is and how to get out of a busy rut.

Try these tips to get off life’s merry-go-round to discover a slower pace of life.

(1) Be selectively accessible

Don’t let coworkers interrupt your day with the latest office gossip. Try to fight the urge to check email every time you hear the “ding” or answer every ringing phone. Block out times to answer emails in bulk and return calls. Put these times on your calendar to help you stay focused.

Similarly, disconnect: Take a technology break. Meditation is great for this. I’ve used the Headspace app but Charlotte Meditation could be something to explore, too. Then there is just getting outside — taking a walk on Little Sugar Creek Greenway or a stroll through Freedom Park helps me to notice the natural beauty I am surrounded by and allows me to clear my mind.

(2) Slow your pace on the corporate ladder

With promotions come more responsibility and at times, longer hours in the office. Before accepting the offer to move up the corporate ladder ask yourself how this might change other aspects of your life and decide if that is a change you would be willing to take. No judgment in what you decide but it’s always good to go in to every situation looking at both sides of the coin.

(3) Review your to-do list

Whether you write your things to do with pen and paper or type it through Evernote, it’s time to assess each item carefully and ask yourself the following questions:

Can I delegate?
Can I postpone/push this back?
Can I remove?

Free yourself of a couple (sometimes self-imposed) busy moments.

(4) Know when to say no

If an opportunity doesn’t excite you or promote growth, or your to-do list is to capacity, don’t run yourself ragged trying to do it all.

Bottom line: Live in the moment. You only live once, so why not make the most of this thing called life and enjoy the moments as they come? Don’t fill every moment up being busy.

Photo: Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer


  1. Number 1 is one of the greatest benefits of working from home. Without the pointless office pop-ins and not getting pulled into meetings of dubious value just because we’re all there, I save at least two hours a day. Add to that the lack of commute and the work day breezes by.