What’s with all this busyness?

Got a question for you:  What’s with all this busyness? 

busy

I have a friend who does not phone people;  it takes up too much of her time. She only texts.

I recently called another friend who is going through a major life event to see how she’s doing.  “Keeping busy,” was her reply. 

I’m not pointing a finger at anyone; I’m a frequent flyer on Busyness Airlines.   😉

Multitasking, squeezing as much activity as possible into every day, and refusing to say “no” come at a high cost:

  • Cluttering our days with meaningless yet time-consuming activity, including television or internet surfing.  Passive busyness, I call it.
  • Letting “good” stuff get in the way of the “great” stuff we could be accomplishing.  
  • Stunting our life’s trajectory and merely treading water at an elevated pace.
  • Caving in to the need to prove how productive we are.  

In the words of professional organizer Peter Walsh, it’s all too much.  It’s life clutter.

But what’s behind the busyness epidemic? 

I believe busyness becomes a mask behind which we evade fully embracing our struggles.  Busyness becomes the Novocaine of our over-saturated lives, deadening us to feeling, interacting, and evolving.  Busyness is a time vampire.

In a very insightful piece on busyness, Tim Kreider shares his take on the problem:

“They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”  

I’m learning (slowly) to take stock of what counts and what can be dumped.  I won’t lie; it’s difficult.  It means making tough choices about the “broad road” of accomplishing, producing, and achieving that we’re often programmed to traverse.   Realizing that a lot of our busyness is self-imposed is a necessary first step in our rehab.

 So, how do we wage war against “the busyness”? 

  1. Recognize that nagging sense that you’re abusing your energy. The still, small voice of the Holy Spirit is often nudging us to re-examine what consumes our day.  
  2. Acknowledge that physical and mental fatigue are byproducts of being overly busy.  What if we choose to respond wisely to those thoughts and feelings that we’ve suppressed under busyness?
  3. Scope out the busyness vampires and put them on blast.  Is your busyness beneficial? Has someone else’s life been made better through it?  If it’s idleness dressed up as busyness, put some grave clothes on it and give it an quick burial.
  4. Choose whom you will serve.  Trevin Wax explains in this blog post that “busyness drains you of creative potential. We all need boundaries. And we tend to be more effective when we focus on doing fewer things well.”  
  5. Refuse to hide behind busyness masked as “ministry.”  Those folks in Matthew 7:21-23 to whom Jesus will say “I knew you not” were super busy, but He didn’t recognize them. Their busyness was in vain.

Listen to the wisdom of Socrates:   “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

How can you cut back on the busyness?


Comments

  1. Great post Alison, thanks for reminder to slow down and not take too much on risking burnout.
    Gillian recently posted..Resolution Update June – Making the TimeMy Profile

  2. Hey Gillian! It’s either we slow down or our minds and bodies are going to pay a price. I’m preaching to myself here as well! LOL!
    Alison recently posted..What’s with all this busyness?My Profile

  3. Girl. You are speaking to me as well. I’ve been so busy. Maybe half is necessary, like running my business and caring for my family, bu the rest… blogging, running, kids extra curricular activities …and the list goes on are self imposed. It’s no wonder its sometimes so difficult to turn off my thoughts and slow down to fellowship with God. Great post.
    Hope recently posted..Take my life…My Profile

  4. Once we get that so much of it is self-imposed, Hope, we’ve won half of the battle. We do have a say in what we take upon ourselves, although we as women tend to struggle with saying no. It’s killing us slowly! I pray for us all to have the courage to face busyness head on and to eliminate what really doesn’t serve us, or our families, very well.
    Alison recently posted..What’s with all this busyness?My Profile

  5. This was a great post, especially one that I needed to read. Getting caught up in being “busy” really does stop me from doing the things that I really feel are important. I’m going to bookmark this post for sure and come back to it as a reference! Thank you!
    KalleyC recently posted..Building Positive MemoriesMy Profile

    • You’re welcome, Kalley! Busyness is a monster that can only be tamed as we absorb God’s perspective on our lives and what really matters most. Cheers!

  6. Confirmation on many things that I’ve been praying on. I’m learning to “stop and smell the roses”. Life is too short not to appreciate it. Busyness can get in the way of many things that are precious and important to us.

    Blessings!

    • Hi Lisi! You’re absolutely right: life is waaaay too short not to stop and smell the roses. A friend from childhood died suddenly last week, and it really made me do a double-take at the things that consume my time. A word to the wise…

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