Mastering “Un-Busy”

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

I preach often at the current church in which I serve. I love preaching and public speaking. Recently, during a sermon the subject of busyness came up which I see as a leading cause of why people struggle in faith and life. A great mentor of mine has encouraged me to master the life of an “un-busy” person. This really intrigued me. As a pastor, it seems many of my colleagues almost pride themselves on being “busy.” Honestly, I did too until this mentor challenged me.

Upon deciding to remain “un-busy” I have noticed I feel less anxious, my Enneagram growth number appears more often, my marriage is healthier, and oddly enough my productivity at work is through the roof! This blog post will focus on 3 things related to being un-busy:

  1. Why be un-busy?
  2. The mindset for the un-busy life.
  3. Some tips to master the un-busy life.

Why be un-busy?

Boy where do I start? I used to think that the more I could add to my calendar or projects the more “productive” I would be. This was never the case as I always seemed to come up short or overload myself. Just think to yourself: What’s at stake? You hear of parents who never see their kids. As a pastor I see so many families forsake good family time or their spiritual growth because they are “busy” with things that don’t really move the mark on their big ambitions.

Speaking of ambitions, that’s another reason to be un-busy. When you’re tasked to the core, you cannot create the margin to chase an ambition. One of my big ambitions was this website and Enneagram coaching. Being un-busy has allowed me to do this alongside my normal ministry responsibilities. Why be un-busy? Because your life depends on it, your family depends on it, and if you’re a follower of Jesus you must remember that Jesus walked… Everywhere! Busyness gets in the way of what’s important.

The mindset for the un-busy life.

What’s the frame of mind to have when trying to master the un-busy life? I got this answer from the title of a great book = Presence over Perfection. That’s the frame of mind you need. You are emphasizing your presence with people over perfection. Your mindset is to be able to be present with those who matter. It’s also to focus on your ambitions that busyness pushes aside. It’s also to have time to breathe and engage with the world rather than being numbed by the busyness of life. Your mindset is presence, joy, peace, and more!

Some tips to master the un-busy life.

Here’s some tips that I’ve put into practice in my life. I have to tell you, these have really helped me grow and become more productive while being present with those I love. They’ve helped me create the margin I need.

  1. Daily Rituals: These were a game changer for me. Each day, I have 4 rituals I have on repeat. They are spaced out as follows: pre-work ritual, workday startup ritual, workday shutdown ritual, and post-work ritual. These are things I do each day. Some are refreshing (like praying and working out) and some are draining (like email!). But I automate these draining things so that they don’t eat up my entire day. Likewise I automate the life giving things to be sure I don’t miss them!
  2. Don’t Obsess Over Hours: Now I know this one is hard for some and not even possible depending on what you do. But for my profession, some fixate on just more and more hours instead of maximizing the hours you have. For example: I can maximize 3-4 hours at a coffee shop and get so much more done that 7-4 each day in the office. I focus on big three things getting done each day and then I know I moved the mark. Sometimes it’s 8 hours. Sometimes it’s more. I don’t obsess over it.
  3. Take a Walk: Once you complete a 1-2 hour stretch of hard work, take a walk and engage with others in your workplace. Then, get back at it again. Don’t just move from one thing to another or you will always be busy and thus not present with others.
  4. Focus on the Essentials: And to do this, you will need to learn to say, “no.” There’s endless options for how to spend our time at work and home. You don’t need to be out each night doing something else. Take time to focus on what’s important, not on what can fill dead space just because you have a brief moment to finally sit down. Sit down and stay there a while!

Those are a few things to get you started. You will soon have your own list of best practices. Know this, being un-busy will change your life and it’s well worth the pruning process.


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