Breaking the Chains of Busyness: A Guide to Changing Your Life Even When You're Too Busy

Do you feel stuck and overwhelmed in your life, but you're too busy to make any changes? This article offers helpful hints and insights to help you break free from the shackles of busyness and transform your life.

Breaking the Chains of Busyness: A Guide to Changing Your Life Even When You're Too Busy
Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 / Unsplash


Are you someone who feels like you're always racing against the clock? Do you have a long list of things you want to accomplish but never seem to find the time to do so? If you said yes, you are not alone. I am a very organized person and maintain To Do’s on my phone, use Google Keep for my notes, Notepad on my desk, a Reminder app on my watch, sticky notes on my computer monitor, etc. However, I have had days when I wanted to change my life but was too busy to try one. At that time, I never understood that I was making excuses, hiding from failure, procrastinating, or what. But things started to change when I started reading books….a lot of books. They made me face myself, and it's difficult to hide.

Many of us face the conundrum of wanting to change our lives but being too busy to do so. The good news is that you do not have to put your dreams on hold indefinitely. In this article, we'll look at the most common reasons why people feel too busy to make changes in their lives and offer actionable steps to help you break free from the shackles of busyness.

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Why Do We Feel Too Busy to Change Our Lives?

The Myth of Busyness

Do you find yourself telling others how busy you are all the time? Do you proudly display your busyness? If this is the case, you may be falling victim to the "myth of busyness." We sometimes believe being busy is being productive and on our path to achieving. However, that may not be all true.

According to this myth, being busy is a sign of productivity and success, and it gives us satisfaction. In reality, however, busyness can be a form of avoidance, a way to divert our attention away from the things that truly matter. Perhaps we know there is a problem or a challenge out there, and we are trying to look away, and there is no better reason to avoid the issue than being busy. We become too busy to attend or talk about the elephant in the room.

The Fear of Failure

Another reason we may feel too busy to make changes in our lives is fear of failure. We may have a vision of how we want our life to be, but we are scared to take the first step because we are terrified of failing. I will share my example here.

I always wanted to write a blog about my experiences, and learnings and I have successfully done plenty of writing during my post-graduation. However, I had apprehensions about the success of my blog, will someone read it, what if my friends and family find out and make fun of me? The challenge was real.

This dread might paralyze us and prevent us from progressing towards our goals. We may persuade ourselves that we will begin working on our dreams when we have more time or the circumstances are ideal. But, there will never be an ideal time to begin. We must learn to accept ambiguity and act despite our concerns. Let us say there is always time, and we just need to prioritize it.

The Lack of Prioritization

Third, we may feel too busy to make changes in our lives because we haven't prioritized them. We may have a big list of things to accomplish, but our goals and desires are not at the top of them. We may squander our time on urgent but unimportant duties, leaving little time for the things that genuinely matter. If we want to transform our lives, we must prioritize our goals and commit to taking action. We need to look at our list of busyness and see what is urgent and what is important. Urgent and important are two phrases that are sometimes used interchangeably, yet they have different meanings. Urgent jobs necessitate an immediate response, like paying your electricity bill. In contrast, significant tasks are critical to your long-term performance and should be prioritized accordingly i.e. mental & physical health. It is critical to distinguish between the two and prioritize decisions based on their relative urgency and relevance to ensure that you are making the most use of your time and resources.

It's critical to prioritize your goals after you've established them. Examine your goals and determine which ones are most important to you. Understand which ones are long-tail commitments and which are short-term commitments, and that should help you decide. I am health conscious and regularly do 5k runs, a long-term commitment that is important but not urgent. However, I also wanted to pay off my car loan to reduce my monthly expenses during this high inflation. I know I have to work on both, but I consider it important and urgent.

I read a book by Covey, Stephen R.- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where he explained Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants.
Image of 4 Quadrants of Time Management
“Effective people stay out of Quadrants III and IV because, urgent or not, they aren’t important. They also shrink Quadrant I down to size by spending more time in Quadrant II. Quadrant II is the heart of effective personal management. It deals with things that are not urgent but are important. It deals with things like building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long-range planning, exercising, preventive maintenance, preparation—all those things we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren’t urgent.”

Therefore, prioritize your objectives and make them a priority in your schedule. Prioritizing your goals increases your chances of making progress towards them and achieving the desired results.

How to Break Free from Busyness and Change Your Life

Talking about the example I mentioned above about my challenge to write a blog, I spent a lot of time researching how to write a blog, tools to use, SEO, etc. There, I stumbled upon a YouTube content creator, Ali Abdaal. He talked about the same issue that I was facing, and that resonated with me. Around the same time, I was reading the book "Finish What You Started" by Peter Hollins who discusses the idea of not waiting until you know everything to start a project. In the book, Hollins emphasizes the importance of taking action and starting with what you know rather than getting bogged down in perfectionism or analysis paralysis. Well, that changed everything, and with whatever information I had, I created my first blog on the belief that I would learn the rest on the way. I prioritized the blog over being busy researching the tools needed, and to be honest, I am still learning as I go, but I do have a blog running.

Assess Your Current Schedule

The first step towards getting out of a rut is to assess your current schedule. Examine how you spend your time and discover areas where you may improve. When you're overburdened, it's easy to waste time on things that don't move you closer to your objectives. Make the most of your time by being deliberate about how you spend it. Plan your most critical chores during the most productive hours of the day and avoid distractions such as social media and email. You'll be able to achieve more in less time and make progress towards your goals if you manage your time correctly.

If you spend too much time on social media or watching television like most of the people around you? Then, let me recommend a strategy that worked for me. I deleted all the social media apps that were pushing me the content (YouTube, Facebook) instead of pulling the content (emails). I can still access YouTube & Facebook on my computer, but it will take so many steps that I will reach out only when I need to access them. Also, I turned off all the phone notifications so I do not get tempted to check my phone, except for calls & texts.

Another thing that helped me was eliminating virtual distractions like having 3 apps for my phone’s health folder, & 5 shopping apps, and 8 productivity apps.

I know these are little things, and you would say how much time we can save. But it's not just the time; it's the space in your head freed up to schedule more important stuff.

unknown person writing
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado / Unsplash

Set Clear Goals

The next stage is establishing specific goals that you wish to accomplish. In the corporate world (and now everywhere, including self-improvement & productivity), SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It is a framework for developing effective goals that are clear, well-defined, and attainable. With the SMART framework, you may develop both tough and attainable goals and a clear method for achieving them. This can help you stay motivated, focused, and accountable, leading to more success and fulfilment in the long run.

Instead of declaring, "I want to get healthier," you may set a goal of exercising for 30 minutes three times each week, drinking water every 2 hours, or thanking & appreciating the special people in your life. Setting specific goals will provide you with a road map to follow as well as a tool to track your progress.

In addition to my SMART goals, I also made a public commitment to my goals, which put pressure on me to achieve them or at least try them and avoid being ridiculed. If you can handle the pressure, avoiding procrastination is a great strategy.

Break Your Goals into Small Steps

Huge ambitions might be intimidating, especially if you're already feeling overburdened. Break down your goals into smaller steps to make them more manageable. Rather than attempting to do everything at once, concentrate on taking tiny, consistent steps each day. This will allow you to gain momentum and make progress towards your goals, even when time is limited. When I wanted to start a side hustle on eBay in my hay days, I wanted to become independent, give up my 9-5 job, and own my time. However, it did not work because, after lots of research, it all seemed daunting. Competing with well-established sellers seems unrealistic, with millions coming in every year. There was too much to do, and getting there would take too long. I lost even before I started. It's all mind over matter, and I was already on the back foot. I should have taken my first step and then my second and not looked at how far I had to walk to get there. It may have worked out if I had broken down my goals and followed them persistently.

Whatever you wish to do or achieve, it's better to break down your goal into bite-sized chunks because it has two-fold benefits; first, you will be moving forward with each accomplishment, and second, each small success will give you the boost you need when the chips are down.

Learn to Say No

One of the most difficult aspects of breaking free from busyness is learning to say no. We frequently feel pressured to say yes to everything, even if it is not in our best interests. Do you remember when your friends or family members asked for your help when they were moving, but you had a pressing task at hand of your own? What did you say? You said yes.

For many of us, it's hard to say no, even at the cost of our discomfort or needs. Some of us are people pleasers or in crude language, door mat where anyone can walk over us. But this does not mean you cannot learn to deal with this. A self-help book by Damon Zahariades' "The Art of Saying No" Damon Zahariades' "The Art of Saying No"teaches readers how to say "no" comfortably and effectively.

In this book, Zahariades investigates why people struggle to say "no" and offers practical ways to assist readers in setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing their own needs. He emphasizes the value of expressing "no" without feeling guilty or forced to justify oneself. The author also discusses how to communicate assertively, manage time and energy, and deal with challenging situations without jeopardizing one's well-being.

The following are some significant insights from the book "The Art of Saying No":

  • Saying "no" is an act of self-care, not selfishness.
  • It takes work and persistence to learn to say "no," but it is a talent that can be acquired.
  • Establishing boundaries is critical for preserving good relationships and avoiding burnout.
  • It is critical to prioritise one's time and energy to achieve personal and professional goals.
  • Saying "no" effectively requires firm and courteous communication.

I recommend that you read this book (or a similar book for your choice), and once you learn to say no effectively and without feeling guilty, you'll have more time and energy to devote to the things that truly matter.

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Let us see what other questions some of you may have in our FAQs below.


  • Is it feasible to make a difference in your life when you're too busy?

Indeed, it is possible to transform your life even if you are overburdened & overwhelmed. It may take some effort and planning, but you can make progress towards the life you desire by prioritizing your goals, breaking them down into smaller steps, and managing your time properly.

  • Since I have a busy schedule, how can I create time for my goals?

Making time for your goals requires being deliberate about how you spend your time. Examine your present calendar, establish clear goals, and prioritize them. Divide your goals into tiny, manageable steps, and make the most of your time by avoiding distractions and scheduling your most critical work during your most productive hours.

  • What if I'm not clear about what my objectives are?

If you're too busy to change your life but don't know your goals, it's time to do some soul-searching. Spend some time thinking about what you want out of life and what is most important to you. Talk to your well-wishers, family & friends who care for you. Contemplate what makes you happy, what fulfils you, and what you want to accomplish in the long run. Once you've determined your objectives, you can begin to prioritize them and work towards them.

  • What if I'm worried about failing?

Fear of failure impedes change, but it does not have to be your undoing. Understand that failure is a necessary component of the learning process as well as an opportunity for improvement. Instead of being terrified of failing, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Concentrate on your accomplishments, and don't be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes along the way. Always remember, if you try, there is a 50% chance of you achieving your goal, but if you don’t try, there is a 100% chance of you not achieving your goal.

  • When I'm feeling overwhelmed, how can I keep motivated?

Remaining motivated while you're feeling overwhelmed might be difficult, but several tactics can help. Divide your goals into smaller, more doable tasks, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Locate a group of friends, family, or a coach to encourage you and hold you accountable. Next, remind yourself why your goals are essential to you and how they will improve your life. Write them down, print a page, and paste it into your work area; start believing it as your success is happening already. This will keep you motivated.

  • What if my hectic schedule is beyond my control?

Our hectic schedules, such as work or family obligations, are sometimes beyond our control. In these situations, thinking outside the box about how you can progress towards your goals is critical. Seek for little pockets of time during the day, such as during your commuting or lunch break, to make progress towards your goals. Try outsourcing responsibilities to free up more time or combining activities, such as exercising and catching up with a friend.

  • How can I find time for self-care when I'm always on the go?

Self-care is crucial to living a healthy and full life, but it can be difficult to make time for it when you're overburdened. Yet, self-care should be prioritized because it can make you feel more energized, focused, and productive. Look for modest methods to include self-care into your daily routine, such as meditation, going for a stroll, or reading a book before bed. Remember that taking care of oneself is an investment in your general well-being and will ultimately assist you in reaching your objectives.

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It's common to feel too busy to make changes in your life, but this doesn't have to be a barrier. You can create the life you want by breaking free from the myth of busyness, conquering the fear of failure, and prioritizing your goals. Remember to be intentional about how you spend your time, break down your goals into tiny steps, and learn to say no to things that don't help you get closer to your goals. You may break free from the busyness and alter your life with perseverance and devotion. Remember, it's about you, and only when you are happy can you make others happy. You don't want a life of resentment & regrets. It's never too late.

Changing your life might be intimidating, especially if you don't feel like you have enough time in the day. You may make meaningful progress towards the life you want by taking conscious measures to prioritize your goals, break them down into achievable chunks, and use your time effectively. Don't let the myth of busyness prevent you from living the life you deserve. Begin small, remain consistent, and remember to enjoy your accomplishments along the way.

Thus, if you're thinking, "I'm too busy to improve my life," it's time to change your mindset and take action. No matter how busy you are, you can create the life you want and achieve your goals with a little effort and perseverance. Remember that busyness is a state of mind, not a physical state. It is entirely up to you to decide how you want to spend your time and live your life.“Whenever you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you are right. (Henry Ford)” ― Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

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