Eliminating Busyness

31 08 2011

I finally have a bit of time to write and it’s only fitting that it comes the week we are teaching on “eliminating busyness” in HSM. The reason I have time right now is not because I have mastered the ability to eliminate busyness or have figured out what it takes to slow down in life. I have time because one of the apprentices is teaching. Plain and simple, I have time in my schedule because I’m not writing a message. Granted I’m writing this in between two meetings and feel very rushed as I type, so I’m going to try and take a bit of my own advice on this one.

I’ve had a hurrying problem my whole life. When we were interviewing at our last church, the senior pastor asked Amanda what my biggest struggle was and she said, “Steve gets too busy.” Sure it made me sound good at the time but busyness has led to exhaustion and frustration over the last 5-6 years of full time ministry (I’ve also learned that busyness doesn’t really “add” to your marriage).

To take a page out of John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted, I understand the need to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry” from my life. It doesn’t mean I’ve completely gotten the hang of it though. Here are some ways to work toward eliminating busyness and hurry from your life that have helped me in the past (some of these are inspired by Ortberg’s chapter on slowing):

1. Slow down– Put yourself in situations where you literally have to wait. Force yourself to take the long route, stand in the line with the most people, or even do something crazy like drive 5 mph UNDER the speed limit! In his book, John Ortberg stated that researches have not found any correlation between productivity and hurry. We make ourselves so busy and then feel like we have to hurry all the time and in reality we aren’t accomplishing anything any quicker.

2. SHHHH!– Find some time to be alone and quiet. There are a lot of things in our world that try to grab our attention and there are times where we just flat out need to avoid them.

3. Set a time to leave– If I tell myself that no matter what else comes up, I’m leaving the office at 6pm then I work harder up until that time. If I don’t do this I keep putting things off until later and end up staying in the office way too long.

4. Learn to say NO– We told our HSers this past week how much power there is in the word “no.” Unfortunately, a lot of us have lost the ability to use this beautiful two letter word and tend to over commit to WAY too much.

5. Rest– We need it for our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Set apart time in your day to just REST. Be still for a bit and don’t feel guilty about it.