I’m guessing it would be the height of irony to say that I’ve been meaning to review this book for a while but I’ve been too busy.
But it is kind of true.
I read Alli Worthington’s Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace & Purpose in a World of Crazy back before Christmas (which was such a great idea on my part) and I am just now sitting down to write about it.
But I feel like it’s a good kind of busy, a better busy than it was last year when I was reading the book.
See, Alli is not about people being lazy or stopping doing things that we really want to do.
The book is all about examining why we are doing what we’re doing, what we’ve said yes to and why, and whether those are things that we actually want to be spending our time and resources on.
It’s about saying no to the wrong thing so you can have time and energy for the right things.
Because our lives are all about controlling how we use our energy. And if we spend all our energy, time and focus on things that we do because other people want us to or because we think it’s what someone in our position should do, we find ourselves running over capacity and without the time and energy for the things we really want to do, whether that’s spending more time with our families or changing focus in our businesses.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we each had a readout that told us, “This is your remaining capacity. Your energy reserves are low. Please stop and recharge”? Wouldn’t it be great if we had some way to know where other were in terms of their capacity as well?
Of course life doesn’t work like that, so we have to pay attention.
How to Break Busy
Breaking busy, as Worthington says, is all about paying attention to what we fill our days with and why. It’s about listening to your heart (and, in her case, to God) to determine the best use of your time and what you really want to focus on.
It’s about cultivating relationships with family and friends, leaving behind those things you do because they’re tradition if they really drive you crazy, and just being mindful about the fact that we really are in control of our own lives and how we choose to spend them.
How I’m Breaking Busy While Doing More
Reading this book at the end of the year was good for me, I think, though making it a new year read would be great, too.
I was already naturally thinking about some of these issues, and I realized while reading it that while I like most of what I do, I maybe wasn’t focusing as much on the aspects of what I do that are my favorite.
So that’s part of where the daily creative challenge came from, because I wanted to spend more time making things and encouraging others in their creativity.
I’m spending more time at my daughter’s school, teaching knitting, sewing and other fiber arts, because it’s important to me that these things are passed on.
I’m getting back into book editing, because I love it so much.
I’m pitching online courses, thinking about ebooks and regular books I might want to write.
All of that is more, which you’d think would make me feel busier.
And I guess it does, in a way. But it’s all stuff I really, really want to do.
It’s true when they say that you’ll make time for things that are important to you.
The shifting of focus, of energy, of priorities is probably pretty subtle on the outside, but it feels like a big difference to me. It’s less like work and more like fun, which I think is what we all hope for from our days.
A Word to the Secular
I did enjoy this book and the things it got me thinking about, but I need to put out a big, bold warning to those non-Christians in the house: this is a very, very Christian book. In it, Worthington talks to God and he talks back and if that’s not your thing there are parts of this book that will make you really uncomfortable.
The ultimate message is tied up in God quite a bit, so if that’s going to bother you, you might want to skip this one.
For those who are Christian, this is probably a really comforting message, that God provides when you truly listen and are willing to give up something good for something even better.
I don’t know about all that. But I do know we have an epidemic of busy, and the more people can slow down and think about why they are doing all they are doing and what they really want, the better off we’ll probably all be.
Breaking Busy is available for preorder or download on the Kindle and will be published Jan. 25.
As part of the Breaking Busy launch team I received a free advance copy of the book. All opinions are my own.