How busy are you?


Everyone seem to be so busy these days.

Busy, busy, busy . . . it is the modern catch phrase.

We are constantly reminded that we are busy and that it isn't going to slow down.  

. . . no one has time to cook . . . clean their homes . . . have a quiet night in.

Are we really that busy . . . or are we manufacturing busyness for the sake of it? 


BUSY . . . "having a great deal to do"


According to The Economist (20th December 2014) Why do people feel so rushed? Part of this is a perception problem. On average, people in rich countries have more leisure time than they used to. . . . Women’s paid work has risen a lot over this period, but their time in unpaid work, like cooking and cleaning, has fallen even more dramatically, thanks in part to dishwashers, washing machines, microwaves and other modern conveniences, and also to the fact that men shift themselves a little more around the house than they used to.”   

But our desire to be busy isn’t new, the article goes on to talk about Seneca (a Roman philosopher) from the first century: “Seneca was startled by how little people seemed to value their lives as they were living them—how busy, terribly busy they all were. Time on earth may be uncertain and fleeting, but nearly everyone has enough of it to take some deep breaths, think deep thoughts and smell some roses, deeply. “Life is long if you know how to use it,” he counselled.”

In fact we have more leisure time than ever before, but instead of using this time for relaxation, time with family and a time for quietness and calm — we have filled it (to over flowing) with numerous activities for both adults and children (which often involves chauffeuring our children to many different activities and taking ourselves to play and watch sport, meals with friends,  after work drinks, movies, volunteering, etc..) that we in fact have created far more busyness than we have time for. Even when we take holidays (vacation from work) people seem to assume that one must go away (i.e. overseas trip or holiday house) rather than just spending time at home quietly pottering about. 



Of course work does chew up a lot of peoples time, but really no more than it use to. Men of the past worked long hours and just think of women in service and how rare it was to have a day off or being able to sleep in. How about those working in the factories, not only were the hours long, the conditions were appalling. 

We are so busy doing "things" that we have forgotten what is important. People don't have time for visiting elderly family,  free time in the evening for just having time together or cooking a roast in the kitchen. In fact we are so busy many people outsource gardening and cleaning activities because they don' have time to do these tasks themselves. Sundays are now filled with activities, when once they were set aside for family and quiet reflection or a simple drive through the country.

Whilst we are busy, only some of our busyness is enjoyable — those busy activities such as our hobbies, spending time with friends etc... but other types of busy we do, helping out at the school/church fete because we were asked to or the dreaded house cleaning are often busy tasks we don't always enjoy and spend quite a bit of time procrastinating about. 

What do we really mean when we say we are busy? Are we over-scheduled? Are we filling up our lives with to-dos to fill some kind of void? Are we afraid of downtime? Afraid of the silence? Are we competing with one another by stating how busy we are? I’m so much busier than you are... Is this busy-ness a choice or more a function of the new, highly connected normal? And why in the world would we all choose to be so busy? (Huffington Post, 20th August 2014 - Why are we so busy?)

Yes we are busy but we don't need to be — we have made a choice to be busy, to fill up our days with activities because we think we need to and it looks good to others. However, sadly we  spend huge amount of time on unproductive activities such as on our phones,  on social media, watching TV, playing computer games etc.. these are not productive — but they keep us busy.  

As Christians we cannot allow ourselves to be swept away by the fast flowing river of busyness like everyone else. Whilst we mustn't be idle, being too busy will reduce our time  we can spend with God, will limit how we can serve God and the time we spending caring and nurturing our families.  "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2) It is important to find a balance between working and resting  "come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). Women have the tendency of being like Martha (rushing about like no tomorrow, taking on more than the hours in the day) but instead we need to be more like Mary and slow down, become quieter, calmer and less hectic. With this we will reduce our stress and anxiety and life will be much more pleasant. 

We all have 168 hours per week and we need to use them wisely and not to the point of stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Lets be busy when we need to, but always leave plenty for recovery and health and time with God..

What to do: 
  • do an audit of your time — look at what you do and decide how best to arrange what you do with the time you have (the 168 hours per week), it may result in doing less, simplify what you do or increase what you do, asking others for help — you may be shocked by how much time you waste on unproductive activities such as social media or TV
  • prioritise your activities, what is important and what is not — learnt to understand what is important in your life and drop what isn't
  • make sure that out-of-home employment does not take over your lives — if it does, consider reducing the hours you work or change jobs as getting the balance is right is important for  your family and your
  • keep check on how many hours you spend on hobbies as they can really chew up the hours. 
  • learn the difference between good and healthy busy and unhealthy and bad busy
  • be better organised and structure your day so you don't waste time
  • learn not to procrastinate as much as we do
  • look at how you waste time doing things that are non-productive but consume up time
  • learn to say no because you can't take on every thing that comes your way
  • learn to slow down
  • appreciate quiet and peace 

And we need to remember — our lives are not a race to the finishing line, it should be a joyful and pleasant journey otherwise what is the point of one's life. 




Comments

  1. Love, love, love this, especially when you said, "Lets be busy when we need to, but always leave plenty for recovery and health and time with God.."
    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Thankyou - I think we have been very good at creating busy because it makes us look good and makes us feel important :(

      God is the most important in our lives and so often comes last :(

      Delete
  2. Excellent! Thank you and God bless.
    Mrs. O

    ReplyDelete
  3. Our holiday was a lovely relaxing time. Life outside the big city seems a lot more relaxing - just having so much more fresh air and green spaces is relaxing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mother was a busy woman, but I never remember hearing her say the words - I think we say "busy" far more than our parents and grandparents. I also think we make ourselves busy with things we don't necessarily need to be doing.

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  4. Yes. We are very busy. Sometimes I look at what "busy" is in our household and I know why we are so busy, but I'm not sure how to slow it down!! We do make a point of taking Sundays off from busy activities, and Dan and I try to have at least an hour of quietness in the evenings and we don't always rush out of bed in the morning - often we spend and hour or an hour and a half just reading our Bible, praying together and discussing our day before we get up!! I think it is healthy and good for us (and our marriage)! Our very busy evenings are temporary while Dan studies, and then I'm sure we'll be back to longer quietness again as we think that is really helpful for our mental and physical health. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like a lovely way to start the day and you are very fortunate that Dan doesn't have to leave the house for work which give you that extra time. I try and keep weekends for nice calm activities and do as much of the grocery shopping on a Thursday or Friday afternoon so I don't have to go out and if I do its for pleasure and not housework.

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