Are you as busy as you think you are? I’m not.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a lot going on. Selling a house, buying a house, extra work at my job, and all the usual life stuff.

But although I feel like my schedule is packed, it really isn’t.

I’ve started packing, but so far my packing sessions have been a few hours here and there to get some of the basement dealt with. There are a few things in the upper level I can pack now but I’ll wait until my moving date is closer to pack the rest.

There isn’t much I have to do about the selling. I’m waiting to hear back on what the buyers want me to fix from the inspection, I’m waiting to hear back from my sellers about the failed well test, and I’m putting way too much mental and emotional energy into waiting.

The extra work at my job doesn’t require that I work over time. In fact, between time off for attending inspections, letting the electrician in and stuff like that I’ve worked a little less than 40 hours in the past couple of weeks.

The life stuff is the usual life stuff. I can’t slack on cleaning like I sometimes do, but that typically takes just a few minutes a day to make sure everything’s put away at night. Between soccer and softball I have two evenings occupied during the week but most of my weekends are free now. Unless I have to house hunt again. See, there I go thinking I’m busier than I am because I’m mentally blocking out that time even though it’s not an issue yet and might not become one.

I feel busy mostly because my brain is busy. My buyers jumped on the house hard and fast, will they start to have second thoughts? The well failed a bacteria test, the sellers have agreed to chlorinate the system but won’t take any further action if it still fails. I don’t want to move into a house with failing water so if they don’t fix it I’ll have to start looking for a house again. Seriously, I’m giving them a pass on the non-working fireplace that they were completely dishonest about, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the water be drinkable. I’m also nervous about the inspection of my house, most of the issues are minor but the buyers could be scared by the aluminum wiring.

My solution?

First, I have to recognize the problem. It usually takes me a few days of feeling like I’m running around when I’m not to realize it.

Second, I determine what is it I actually have to do in the immediate future. I have to keep the house in generally clean shape but I don’t have any large projects left. I have softball on Wednesdays and starting tomorrow I’ll have soccer on Fridays. There’s nothing I can do about the buying or selling right now but wait.

Third, create a schedule. I keep a to do list on my phone with the days of the week. Under each day I put what I have schedule for that day and any additional tasks that need to be completed. I keep at least 2 weeks of tasks on there, sometimes a month if I have a long term project active. It really helps me keep perspective on what I need to do and by when.

Most of the time, the schedule shows that actually, I’m not that busy. If I have a free evening I can pencil in something fun, ie video games, just to make sure I take some time to relax.

What’s all this have to do with money? When I’m busy – and I know I’m not the only one – I tend to make “busy” excuses. Don’t have time to cook, I’ll just buy lunch. I’m too busy to deal with this, I’ll just pay the fine. Or maybe I forget to pay a bill on time and have to pay a late fee.

Sometimes I really am that busy, when my schedule is packed full and I have too much to do and too little time to do it. But those times are rare and I need to be able to differentiate between real busy and feeling “busy”.

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