I’m Not Busy

Tyler Ward, a blogger and web consultant, argues that being busy isn’t respectable anymore – and I agree.

Do you reply to friends’ questions, “how is life going?” with a “I’m so busy!” “Crazy-busy!” “Just keepin’ busy…”

Peaceful Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe — it’s important to take time away from busyness and go on vacation!


But, outside of major commitments such as medical school, caregiving or required time at work, does filling up our time and having accomplished X number of items any given day from our to-do list actually mean we’ve adding value to our lives and the things in it that are most important to us?

A recent move and a breakup, in addition to my own efforts to create more open space on my calendar has left me with less busyness in my life.

Less activities during my week has been a funny change; I’m used to setting up coffee dates, going to happy hours and attending lectures or classes nearly ever night of the week. For the first time in the 5 years I’ve moved to the city of San Francisco, I haven’t had too much going on for the past two weeks – and it feels nice.

What other strategies am I using to decrease the amount of busyness in my life? I’ve used a few techniques to add more flexibility and time to my day: less TV and no going out to dinners during the week, commuting to work by walking or running instead of additional gym time (with my new apartment, I’m now only 2 1/2 miles from work so this is feasible) and more strategic dinner preparations (many leftovers, easy-to-assemble meals, plus one of the best kitchen inventions ever: the slow cooker).

Doing less & being more strategic with my time has allowed me more peacefulness in my life. I’m actually getting a decent amount of sleep, feeling more alert and less stressed and more centered in devoting energy in only the activities that feel most valuable to me. It’s been pretty awesome.

Tyler challenges, in his blog post, for readers to refrain from using the word “busy” to answer the question, “how are you?” His point is also that we should reflect on what we are doing and make ourselves less busy by being more selective, for the benefit of ourselves and the things that matter in our lives.

I’m going to take the challenge: for the entire month of February, when someone asks me how I am, I won’t use the term “busy”.


Want to join me and Tyler?

Follow Tyler on Twitter at @tylerwardis


Setting New Year’s Goals, 2014

Happy New Year 2014.


The 2013 year was a year of enormous changes for me – I changed relationships status (read: now single), living situation (I moved in September and then prepared for my move in early January) and job (after 4 years at my old company, I moved on to a new workplace). I traveled for work and personal reasons, continued to examine how to grow in my own life, and learned to embrace change even better than I had before. I’m looking forward to making 2014 the best year yet.

Many people think as the beginning of January to embark on new year’s resolutions: a few flimsy, weakly defined goal statements that revolve around eating less, working out more, making more money, or advancing in one’s career.

I see the new year as a time to reassess goals for the year, and seriously lay out plans to achieve them. Though far from perfect, my goal setting has been strongly influenced by 2 main schools of thought: Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes a Day and Chris Brogan’s 3 words idea.


18 Minutes A Day, Cover

18 Minutes A Day by Peter Bregman, has been a book about goal setting that has influenced how I set my own goals.

  • Peter Bregman in 18 Minutes A Day focuses on the idea that you should prioritize what you want to accomplish out of your year by first narrowing your focus areas of what you want to achieve to 5 – 6 categories. You then make a daily schedule that consistently hits upon these themes. The 18 minutes aspect comes in with the check-ins during the course of a given day: 5 minutes at the beginning of the day, 1 minute for each hour of work (assuming you do this during once an hour in an 8 hour work day) and 5 minutes at night.


  • Chris Brogan, in his called “My Three Words for 2014” talks about reflecting deeply about what you want to accomplish and setting themes for the year that are embodied in 3 words which capture the themes in a positive manner. The words are meant to be personal to you and should have a story behind them. For example, one of my words for 2013 was “canoe”, coming from the metaphor that each person is paddling their own canoe (in their personal and professional lives) – and that in order to be content with myself, my achievements and my life journey, I needed to keep in mind that I was paddling my own canoe.


I’ve set my 2014 themes and goals, which I’ll share in a later post. Mostly, they target parts of my marketing career, relationships with family & friends and healthy lifestyle.

What are you focusing your 2014 goals on?


Jen Burstedt

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