"I'm so slammed at the office this week. I'm going to be working late every night to get things done!"
"This is a crazy month for me and the kids. Between basketball playoffs, piano recitals, and soccer tournaments, I might as well start a taxi service."
"Wow, my schedule has had me traveling all over the place lately. I haven't had one minute to even stop and catch my breath."
Sound familiar? Not many days go by without someone I know saying how busy they are. Often they say these things with a hint of pride, as if being busy is something they are proud of. They wear their busyness as a badge of honor.
And I'm no exception. There have been many busy seasons in my life when I've been quick to tell people all about how I'm running from one thing to the next and being pulled in so many directions. But over time, I've come to learn that busyness is not something to be proud of.
Somehow, we've equated busyness with value. We've equated busyness with importance. We've equated busyness with honor. And yet, being busy can be harmful in so many ways. Here are 3 reasons why busyness is not a badge of honor:
1. It harms our kids. We want our kids to experience good things. So, when we view busyness as a good thing, of course we want to share it with them. We sign up our kids for three or four organized sports teams, make them learn every instrument imaginable, do arts, dance ... the list goes on. But being involved in so many things keeps kids from being kids. When they don't get done with practice until 8pm each night, they don't have time to run around the yard or catch lizards.
Another way our kids are harmed is through the pressure that comes with a busy schedule. They will begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed by their activities until they are unable to enjoy them anymore.
Busyness is a bandit that steals precious time together with our kids. It steals one-on-one time where we can teach them important life lessons, hug them, and share how much we love them.
In our family, we found that setting up boundaries was the best way to protect our time and avoid busyness. For example, we only allowed our kids to do one organized sport at a time.
2. It harms our marriage. When spouses find themselves on different schedules, they often become like two rudderless ships passing in the night ... and day. One is getting home from work while the other is taking their daughter to soccer practice. One is sleeping in after a long night of work while the other is up early and out the door to get things done.
Whatever the situation may be, a disconnection arises in marriage when you've given the best of your time and energy somewhere else and only have your leftovers for your spouse.
To help reconnect with your spouse, one of the 6 Ways Your Marriage Can Thrive in a Busy Season is to set up certain nights or afternoons that belong just to the two of you. Plan your dates before you plan out the rest of your month. Make sure your schedule is set around your family time and your family time isn't set around your schedule.
3. It harms our lives. Ultimately, being busy keeps you from focusing on the important things in life—your faith, your family, and your friends. So be sure that instead of pouring all your time into activities, you're spending time investing in your relationships.
If you struggle with busyness, perhaps my post, Why Solitude and Silence Are So Important, will help.
Are you experiencing busyness in your life? What are you doing about it? I'd like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment.
Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.