On The Culture of Busy

On The Culture of Busy October 15, 2010

A group of girlfriends and I were discussing the other day how busy our evenings are for moms. There are dinners to make, children and husbands to please, babies to bathe, get dressed, read before bed, and then bed time.  Then we began to consider that–well–the whole day is crazy busy.  A friend of mine on Facebook the other day–a mother of three children–was trying to figure out how she and her husband can actually spend time together because their family is so busy they are always rushing to and fro.  My friend owns her own business, her husband has a full time job, and each child has one activity she does.

If Americans do anything really well, it is how to stay busy from the moment one gets up until sleep. The minutes in between in a typical day are literally filled with activities.  Most of my girlfriends are all stay at home moms and they complain about how busy it gets so that it feels like they don’t have a chance to breathe.  All of this busyness cannot be good for the soul.

About two months ago I signed up for a yoga class that I attend twice a week.  The class is 1 1/2 hours of pure chill out time. It is so difficult for me to take this time out of my incredibly busy life to learn how to relax. And yet I am so glad after the time ends that I took it to be good to myself . . . and to my soul.  Yoga has made me aware that even my prayer time is a hurried experience.  One cannot rush in yoga. Well, you can but you will injure yourself. It made me begin to wonder, what does rushing in prayer do? Maybe nothing? Can one really have a relationship with someone when it is continuously rushed? Can one really hear God when it is a “helloGodhowareyouIamworriedpleaseanswermyprayers?”

What can we do in our families to decrease the busy? Heck, even my single friends are so booked they don’t have time to breathe. What can we do in our individual lives to relax the pace of life?

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  • I vote we dump the electronics…. facebook, cell-phones, video games, television, movies..

    I’m not really strong enough to do this completely but I think it’s the only way to make time.

    We need to simplify our material lives to make room for our spiritual lives.

  • David Nickol

    Read and follow How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein. You must prioritize and schedule. I think this is excellent advice, but I can’t say for sure, because I have never followed it myself. My real problem is not lack of time, it’s procrastination. But prioritizing and scheduling would work for that, too.

    There are time management books specifically for Catholics, which you can find by searching Amazon.com.

  • ben

    Since we are required to keep the Lord’s Day holy, Sundays might be a good start in implementing Zach’s idea.

  • brettsalkeld

    Zach, you’re right on two counts. First, electronics suck up time in an incredible way. On a day I publish a blog post I get almost nothing else done. Second, it is nearly impossible for us to get away completely.

    I think our best bet is to develop a discipline around them. Check e-mail once a day. At a given time, every day. Twice if you need e-mail for work.

    Same with TV and web browsing. If it is directed and contained it can be fine. If it is aimless, one has soon lost untold hours doing “nothing.”

    In another sense, sometimes we need to do “nothing.” But we should plan an hour of “nothing” before hand, not recognize 3 hours of “nothing” after the fact. And we should usually do our “nothing” with our spouses or kids or friends. (Though how much time one needs alone varies.) When I spend 3 hours with the lads in the park, nothing gets crossed off the to-do list, but I don’t feel like I’ve wasted time.

  • Pinky

    Definitely ditch the cell phones. They make you think differently. Every moment has to be spent multi-tasking, whether you need to do the secondary tasks or not. When you walk from the car to the grocery store, you check your email. Do you need to? Of course not. But you’d feel weird if you didn’t.

    I would never get rid of movies or video games. They’re great opportunities to sit still and relax. A terrible horror movie is my yoga.

  • Pinky

    I’m referring to sit-down video games on a gaming console or a computer that isn’t running anything else. The portable iphone-type games and online flash games are just little stressors. They let you take a relaxing moment between tasks and PANIC AS LITTLE ALIENS WITH GUNS RUN ACROSS YOUR SCREEN for a few seconds, as if they know your blood pressure might accidentally drop below 160/120 if it weren’t for them.

  • Kimberley


    Two things that work for us. Picnic in the park on Sunday afternoons. Older kids can play and are occupied while we talk. Second is Adoration. That one hour a week gives you a full hour with our Lord in silence. It gives you time to listen to Him.