‘Busy’ is a word that everyone can relate to, and you probably feel busy countless times during your week. The good news is that although our lifestyles are so hectic these days, these simple tricks can help you feel a little less busy.

1. Stop Saying You’re Busy

Words have amazing power over the way you feel. If you keep telling yourself and everyone around you how busy you are, you will start feeling even busier.

Try to stop defining your feeling or situation as ‘being busy’ and instead focus on finding another emotion to describe your situation. When you limit the use of the word, you will realise you aren’t as busy as you may think and you will start defining your life in other terms.

2. Focus on One Thing at a Time

Although you might pride yourself on being great at multi-tasking, the truth is you’ll get much more done by focusing on one thing at a time. Productivity expert Julie Morgenstern talked about the negative impact multi-tasking can have on your brain in an interview with Forbes. Morgenstern said, “It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks, so you lose time”.

Instead of juggling multiple things at one, simply focus on one thing at a time. In the end, you are going save a lot more time by approaching your to-do-list task by task, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the start.

3. Do Something Good for Others

It might seem like an idea to waste more time, but spending time everyday doing good deeds for others can actually help you feel less busy. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that participant’s “time affluence” went up when they spend time doing selfless acts to help others, meaning they felt they had more time at hand at the end of the day than participants who spent the same time on themselves.

Next time you are having a busy day, stop for a moment and write an encouraging letter or e-mail to a friend, take fresh cupcakes to your neighbour or just pass a compliment to your spouse.

4. Learn to Prioritise

Most people end up wasting time simply by focusing on the wrong things. It is easy to put off big tasks and think that mowing the lawn is at the top end of your priorities when you are busy.

It’s a good idea to list things you need to do, even the smallest of chores, and prioritise them. Start your day by clearing one or two of the top priority tasks and simply leave the low priority tasks for later.

If you need to kick start your prioritising, schedule the things you really don’t want to do for the start of the day. If you get to them later when you’re tired, you’ll probably just put them off again.

5. Set Leisure Goals

It might sound counterintuitive to fill your leisure time with things to do, but research has shown people are happier when they are accomplishing things. Instead of just hoping for more free time, make sure you also know what you want to do with this extra time.

Set yourself leisure goals to guarantee you don’t forget to spend time pampering yourself just because you think you are busy. Schedule a tennis session with a friend or go for a manicure. This can guarantee you not only take time to relax, but also spend the time relaxing instead of worrying all the other things you need to do.

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