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becoming the watcher: How to break Free from busyness and rediscover yourself

March 19, 2023 / Ronny Eriksson

We are constantly feeling busy.

Our days are hectic.

We are rushing from one place to another.

Living in such a hurry and thinking more will bring us the life we desperately are rushing for.

Busyness is the reality for most of us living in the modern world.

And while I think doing is better than stagnating – being too busy keeps us from reaching the potential our doing could ultimately create.

"Just because we're busy doesn't mean we're being productive.

Working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination." 
– Gretchen Rubin.

It is easy to hide behind busyness ending up in a situation where we are unaware that we are busy doing nothing.

"Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing" 
– Lao Tsu

some journeys in life can only be traveled alone.

"Busyness is like sin: kill it, or it will be killing you."


Have you been running around like crazy and achieved little or nothing?

Hustling and bustling is a fake sensations of being effective.

It's habitual, this busyness, mainly the mental bit.

The worst part is that we're often so busy that we don't have the mental space to pause and be aware of ourselves.

I'm a prime example. I've been running around like a headless chicken keeping myself busy.

I've struggled with separating activity from productivity. I've been too busy to even listen to myself and my wants. 

Why? That is a great question, indeed.

Before, I explained busyness as something I had to do. All successful people are busy; they do many things, and because of that, they are busy.

I made being busy an excuse – I'm too busy to meet you, I'm too busy to answer, and I'm too busy to care.

Yeah, sure. That's one way to look at it – but the more I paused and thought, the more my eyes opened to why I kept myself busy.

Firstly, busyness was a toxic circle for me. I complained about it; it stressed me out. It simply made me a worse person.

Secondly, busyness kept me away from the things I truly valued that were good for me; training, family, friends, and nature. It made an even worse person.

Lastly, my busyness kept me from facing myself. When not facing myself, I stagnated, and the busier I got, the less I started to get done. I couldn't separate activity from productivity.

So, I decided to reclaim my life from the false realization that being busy is good.

I had to become aware of my busyness. I had to learn to watch where my busyness was coming from. I needed to realize I was the only one who could change it for myself.

I had to become more self-aware – the watcher – and ultimately break free from unproductive business.


Next, you learn how I did it.

learning to pause

Most of us think about taking a pause completely wrong.


We know it means taking a break from the activity, but when we pause, do we stop?

A typical day in life and work with pauses looks something like this:

Breaking the pattern starts with stopping, pausing momentarily, and giving yourself space. 

Sometimes we are so deep in our busyness we think we are pausing – when actually, we are just filling the pauses with other busy elements.

Think about it. You are super busy, and you decide to take a break.

What do you do?

Listen to a podcast? Check your social media? Talk with a co-worker? 

These pause fillers might feel like pausing – because they are not "work."

But they are not pausing; they are things adding one more thing to your overload of activities.

Yet another way to keep busy from facing ourselves and our thoughts.

So, now it's time to change that pattern. It's time to give ourselves a real pause and access the white space in our heads.

becoming the watcher

Now you probably realize you are keeping busy to escape meeting your thoughts—these thoughts you should watch and learn from.

By watching yourself when pausing, we'll see what's going on, including what we're doing and thinking that isn't serving us.


Becoming aware of where we go wrong is the beauty of becoming the watcher.

So next time you pause, fill that time with watching yourself, not something else.

The goal is simple – Pause and do nothing but be the watcher of your mind.

Let's break this into easy-to-do steps:

  1. Create space for yourself. This means taking a moment to pause and be present with your thoughts. But be careful to fill this space with less busyness. Instead, try accessing the white space in your head and allow yourself to be still and mindful.

  2. Start to notice patterns in your thoughts and actions that don't serve you. This awareness is the first step towards breaking free from the busyness and reclaiming your life. You will see what thoughts you are trying to escape by simply noticing your thoughts without judgement.

  3. Start writing the recurring thoughts down. Through this, you start visualizing your thoughts, and you can learn from them by seeing them.

The harsh reality is that most people are escaping the fact that they keep getting all these thoughts. 

It's often said that a watched mind becomes still.

The aspect of ourselves that observes the mind, known as the "witness", is not to be confused with the inner critic or any other part of the ego. The witness is a state of mindfulness, stillness, and non-judgemental observation, bringing a profound sense of inner peace. 

Embracing the role of the watcher allows one to become the witness and cultivate this awareness in daily life. By noticing our actions and being present in the moment, we can break free from unhelpful patterns and maintain a calm state. 

When we get caught up in mental turmoil, we can remind ourselves of the witness and observe without getting swept away.


This practice can help us realize that our busyness may be a way of avoiding uncomfortable truths.

Becoming the watcher is the first step to self-awareness.


The first step of Starting Up with Yourself and learning to see through practical examples – where you escape the person you should be watching and learning from.

So now you've access to the first tool.

It is hard to master, but it will change it all.

You are the watcher now – enjoy what you will see.

Hopefully, this helps you the way it has helped me.

Have a great week.

I'll be watching you grow,

- Ronny

"Yesterday I was so clever I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself"

You can probably see the pattern now.


We keep rushing for the next thing and trying to get a lot done might hurt us more than it helps us.

You're subscribed to this newsletter because you are interested in starting up with yourself, to wake up to the realizations in life that hold you back.

I'm here to share the thoughts that have helped me wake up. I'm not writing busy writing this – because while I get to share this with you, it also helps me. I'm self-aware that this supports my purpose:

"By helping you become, I will become."

So today, I want to prepare you before you plunge into your next day or moment of busyness by offering guidance on becoming aware of it.

For the past six months, I have been going through various models of life coaching where the focus has been on becoming self-aware.

Starting Up with Yourself starts with becoming self-aware of yourself. 

Becoming the watcher of your mind. A decision to switch from using your primitive brain reacting to your circumstances and instead choosing to be deliberate. 

When you think about thinking, you have the agency to set the course for your own life and not live in the belief that you are a victim of your circumstances – like busyness.

The first step is to realize you're stuck in a loop. 

We need to reflect.

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