Don’t Let Busyness Crowd Out Happiness

March 9, 2016

by Ravi Raman

My trip last week into the mountains, a short two-night ski trip to our usual Nordic Ski trails, was looking more and more inconvenient the closer it got.

Skiing is good fun, even if it is of the aerobically-inclined Nordic variety that I often do. Unfortunately, I had a backlog of work and tax preparation that required a quiet weekend at home to plow through. I was on the verge of canceling the trip, something we booked months in advance.

Canceling would have been easy and logical. AirBNB would let me do it without penalty, even a few days before departure. Nobody was depending on me to head into the hills, and my wife was ambivalent about going too. I didn’t have to worry about letting others down. It would have been easy just to stay home.

I didn’t stay home.

I planned the trip ahead of time, way back in November (it is now March). I really enjoy skiing and at the start of the winter season pledged (to myself) to live a lifestyle where I made time for it, no matter what. More broadly speaking, I left my corporate career two years ago to live exactly this type of lifestyle, where life came first, ahead of all the minutiae that hide under the masks of profession and obligation.

So off I went.

I went up to ski for the weekend and had a great time. I also managed to be very focused with my time while I was there. I got my taxes done. I wrote a blog post. I took care of some other things for my business. I watched the comedy show masquerading as the Republican presidential debates.

I arrived home relaxed and feeling accomplished.

I know that when I focus on what really matters, things end up working out. The lesson I learned is that when I commit to something for the right reasons, it’s important that I stick to it, especially when it seems inconvenient. Busy-ness will crowd out happiness if you let it.

Instead, set a boundary by choosing to say yes to the things you want, and let the busy-work sort itself out. It always does.

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