Why We Like to Be Busy

Have you ever noticed that most of us are constantly on a chase? We chase after many things, usually seeking the high that comes from a new object, a new feeling, a new emotion. If it’s shiny and new, we want it whether it’s a new gadget, a new buzz, a new love interest, or a new discovery. Ok, so what’s wrong with seeking out new things? Isn’t that fun? Shouldn’t we be able to have a little fun? Yes, of course. The problem is when you seek out new things compulsively in ways that actually keep you from living the life you really want.
The Chase – Good and Bad

Desiring “The Chase” is a good thing that naturally drives us forward in life. It compels us towards our goals, meeting a spouse, having a family, starting a business, creating things, and more. It becomes detrimental when we don’t apply forethought to our actions. Examples are overspending on things we don’t need, getting involved in affairs, abusing drugs, and wasting time seeking out new and complex methods or tools when we already have ones that are simple and that work. On the last example, I think it is important to explore new ideas, but we must constantly check ourselves to keep this in balance. “Am I procrastinating, or do am I truly in need of a new idea, method, tool?”

How to Free Yourself from Compulsive Chasing and Live Your Dream Life

Compulsive chasing can often be a result of not knowing what to do next. Our goals are unclear, unprioritized. Our life is full of physical and mental clutter so we try to escape this chaos through chasing the shiny and new. To stop this cycle I’ve put together a process to get you on track to clear out the clutter and obtain focus. To do this, I suggest taking 1-2 days off to organize your life. You may be thinking,”I can’t do that!!” Ah, but you can! Think back to times when you’ve been sick and couldn’t perform home and work duties. The world goes on without us. So take some time for yourself now. You work hard and deserve to clear out mental and physical clutter so you can live the life of your dreams!

The “Organize Your Life” Process
The goal of this process is to declutter your world and mind, and then organize things, ideas, and goals so that you can live a purposeful life, one in which you are not just merely “busy” but engaged, excited, and living out your dreams. This process is meant to be modified by you so that it works best for you. These are just guidelines.

1. Prework: Read Getting Things Done by David Allen. Here is a Pocket Mod GTD cheatsheet to use as a guide. Another great place to learn a similar approach is Zen To Done over at ZenHabits.net.

2. Tools you may need: Files, Filing Drawer/Container, In-Basket, Notebook, Calendar, and Tickler/Reminder File/Tool. You probably have most of these already. Don’t feel like you need to get fancy. Simple is best when it comes to tools. These tools can be physical and/or electronic. Whatever system is easiest and most intuitive for you, use that.

3. First plan the Big Things you want to accomplish during your time. Examples might be:

  • Clear out clutter in office (2 hours)
  • Create places to put things to be donated, sold, or trashed (10 minutes)
  • Organize papers, files, and reference items (2 hours)
  • Create plan to declutter whole house over next 6 six weeks (15 minutes)
  • Work on Goal Setting and Goal Implementation Planning and/or Goal Simplification (1-2 hours)
  • Take action on first steps of my top 1-3 goals ( 2 hours)
  • Plan my next steps -schedule it into calendar, tickler file or to-do reminder system(5 minutes)
  • Plan when I will do my weekly review (5 minutes)

4. I suggest De-Clutter as a first physical action step. Here is a guide on how to De-Clutter. When in doubt throw it out. But don’t get too carried away and throw out things that you really might need especially if they are expensive. Simply find a “home” for those things. Don’t aim for perfection, just aim for Big Progress. Don’t let the little things bog you down. If you get stuck making a decision on an item, put it into your “review in 6 months pile” and move on to the next thing. Keep moving to make the most of your time.

5. Put stuff into piles:

  • Trash
  • To be sold (schedule in how/when you will sell this stuff so you ensure you’ll do it. If you don’t have a lot of time for this, then either delegate that task to a local ebay seller or donate it)
  • To be Donated (load this stuff right into your car, or put near the front door if you’re having it picked up)
  • To be Reviewed in 6 months (for things you can’t decide on)

6. Organize your papers, files, books, things, and other reference materials. If items are associated with actions, write it down in your capture notebook and put the item in it’s place or trash if not needed. If items are reference, then file them or put them in their “home.” If you need to be reminded of a reference item, put that on your capture list too and put the item away.

7. Process your In-Box of papers and your Capture list. Assign tasks to projects, your next-action list (I still call it a To-Do List), and into reminder tools like calendar, reminder programs, or tickler files.

8. Goal Setting, Goal Planning, and Goal Simplifying. This will get you focused onto how to live out your dream life. Check out these three guides for Goal Management. I suggest doing them in this order. If time is short, just do #2.

  1. Ultimate Goal Setting Guide + Free Download
  2. Wrestling with Your Goals? (Goal Planning & Management)
  3. Simplifying Your Goals

This exercise will take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours depending on how detailed you want to get. It will give you direction and focus. You’ll know what to do next. The clutter in your mind will be gone. You’ll no longer be “busy” chasing new things for the sake of chasing, but rather you’ll be journeying towards your dreams. This journey is the most useful way to channel the primal desire to chase. And eventually I would suggest cultivating a shift in your perception from “chasing dreams” to “living my dreams.”

9. Take action on at least one step you’ve identified in your goal planning to get the ball rolling. And plan the next few as well. This will make you feel great!

10. Commit to daily and weekly planning and periodic De-Cluttering.

  • Daily planning: Plan your day realistically by assigning the amount of time it takes to complete a task. Then work your way down from hardest task to easiest!
  • Weekly Planning: Capture ideas onto paper, Process In-Box, Review Goals, project lists, to-do lists, upcoming calendar, previous calendar week for missed items, and generally tidy up desk and other major areas.
  • Periodic De-Cluttering. Choose a frequency that works for you and set reminders into your calendar. And then do it!

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  1. 1
    July 3rd, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    hey girl really interesting article u wrote here!! happy to stumble it!! :)

  2. 2
    Web Urbanist
    July 3rd, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Good advice … especially for people like me who are working ‘independently’ largely – it’s easy to let the clutter take over!

  3. 3
    July 3rd, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks Agent Sulley! This is exactly what I need today, having had all my clutter thrown on the floor this morning. It was a great motivator to sort through my papers. Now, I need some file folders and to set some goals!

  4. 4
    July 4th, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Hey Sully, liked the article. I recognized a lot of it. I’m in need of reorganizing my goals again, they’re in need of re-alignment. A good job for my upcoming holiday…in the south of spain, with a good glass of wine and some olives :)

    The times you put in your example would’ve been WAAYY too optimistic for me. I wrote an article on backlogs a while back, and decluttering my office (gathering, processing, reorganizing) is measured in days rather than hours.

  5. 5
    July 5th, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    confessing7girl – thanks!

    Web Urbanist – yes, clutter is something I have to fight daily!

    Muthabroad (neat handle!) how did it go? Hope you had success!

    Lodewijkvdb – those are the quick time frames. Sometimes it’s better to some than not at all. Save me a glass of wine! That sounds good!

  6. 6
    July 7th, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    I would also add start waking up early :)

  7. 7
    July 7th, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Good idea, Yuri!

  8. 11
    Wake Up Early
    July 30th, 2007 at 12:52 am

    I also recommend to start on things that bring visible results quickly. It’s inspiring and helps you get things rolling

  9. 14
    August 15th, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Interesting article… great read.
    Wish I could follow it :(

  10. 15
    August 17th, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    xnepali – you can do it!!

  11. 18
    April 16th, 2008 at 9:37 am

    For implementing GTD you can use http://www.gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.

  12. 19
    Spencer McDonald
    August 2nd, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    A great read. I believe we must visualize what it is we want in life, then develop a plan to go get it, choose to take action, and finally — TAKE ACTION and live your perfect life.

  13. 20
    November 18th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    So often we fill our lives with “stuff” in order not to pay attention to the areas of our lives that really need the attention…. slowing down is essential…for sanity and serenity

  14. 21
    Amy Platon
    January 29th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Here’s a story of a Dream Catcher:

    Do you believe in unicorns? No? I don’t either. But now I think I could probably be talked into it…if the story was really convincing. I would probably also require some sort of proof. Yup. I could probably be talked into believing in unicorns.

    Well, I have someone to introduce. Her name is Layla Palmer. Have you heard of her? If not, then swing on by her blog. She started it in May last year and has gained quite a following. She launched it to document the renovation of her little cottage. She thought she’d use it as a cyber photo album. She also thought she’d share her design ideas with others who might need a little inspiration in redecorating their own homes. Turns out there are about 700 “others” and countless more who are being inspired daily by Layla’s design ideas.

    She hasn’t always been a designer. When she was a kid she had a super ornate canopy bed with french blue floral bedding, ruffles and all. (Although in the 80’s that was probably perfectly acceptable for a young girl’s bedroom). Today though, she says bedrooms are her favorite room to design. And believe me, they are a complete design departure from what she once called home.

    Read the full article here:

    You’ll be inspired to catch your own dream too!!!

    Great site! We need more sites like this one around here.

  15. 22
    March 15th, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for the blog. It’s really useful for disorganized ppl such as myself. Your article is a zoomed-in version of a similar article (which explains the complete picture) that could be found on:


  16. 23
    Bunmi Sodipe
    October 4th, 2010 at 11:48 am

    You really nailed it on the head. There is nothing better than living the life of your dream. When you follow other people’s dream, you live a mediocre life. If you want to live a fulfilled life, then you must define your dream life and take practical approach and steps to live that dream. It is then you are the part to live the live of your dream. The article really inspire.

  17. 24
    October 24th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Bunmi – thank you for all your positive and inspirational comments! Your positive energy will surely lead to your success!

  18. 25
    My Life Dream
    March 17th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Very inspiring. I am sure that if people read your article, they will be motivated to live their life dreams too. Thanks!

  19. 26
    March 18th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you Dream Life!

  20. 27
    Urban Survival Guide
    March 25th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    hoping that I could do all of your suggestions and advices. Since, I work to hard I need some rest. But then, I have strive more. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  21. 28
    Geoffrey Talbot
    June 22nd, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Living your dream can cost you everything you have. But maybe you have to lose your life to truly find it…

    Here is my story on video…live your dream

    Thanks for your encouragement… Geoff

  22. 29
    photo album maker
    August 2nd, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    People nowdays always race against time!busy is the usual every day life. but it shouldn’t, your suggestion is quite good, it helps!


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