Prague Bridge

Cult of Busy


Have you ever had someone say that they’re ‘too busy’ to do something? Think we all have. Do you know what they really saying? They’re saying that they don’t have the time, don’t have the desire, don’t have…the list goes on and on. And if you are reading between the lines you will see if someone is claiming to be ‘too busy’ they are really saying something else entirely.

Over the course of the last few years I’ve caught myself saying that I was busy when it came to certain things and it got me thinking was I hiding negativity by being politically correct and creating ‘busy-talk’. I mean there could have been a chance that I could’ve been just using my ‘busyness’ to provide an easy excuse like: “no I didn’t really want to go to that party with you.” Then again there could’ve been a chance I could’ve been scared to free things up and experience something new. Either way you look at it, I can tell you there was a lot going on from zigzagging across the country for business, to writing a book, and being a dad and a husband. My margins were thin and I had no balance in my life.


When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”

- Jack Kornfield

I realized I had been trapped in a cult of busy and it was something that had taken over my life. I think we can all say we’ve been there from time to time. We multi-task to get things done, we triple-task to stay ahead and we feel guilty for blocks of unplanned time in our schedule so we pack them to the brim. We view anything counter to this as a threat to our productivity, which becomes a threat to our very sense of hope. It turns into a way of life. It’s seductive wiles confuses us by tricking our minds into thinking that filling our time with meaning also equates to merely filling our time for the sake of filling our time. It changes the way we view and measure our own self-worth, by focusing on not on the quality of an activity but on the quantity of it. It’s as if we base our happiness off of our busy-ness and not the story that has been written for us.


We all have the same 24/7. What we do with our time becomes our priority. Choose what you do with your time and do not lead a life by default.”

- Patt Hollinger Pickett

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have things to do, nor am I saying we shouldn’t have goals and strive for success, but if we find ourselves explaining things away with the word ‘busy’ we may need to stop and think about what we are really doing with our life. We need to get honest with ourselves in these moments and take a look at what is causing us to be so busy and create balance. At the end of the day, our days are numbered, so why would we not begin building in that type of balance now?

Here are a few simple tips that helped me and could help you break out of the cult of busy.

1. Be Accountable: This is necessary in order to grow. We all need someone in our lives to help us be better. Look for someone you admire, someone who you respect, and someone that you want to speak truth into your life—no matter how hard it may be. It’s good to know that there is someone there to tell you to stop because you’re about to ‘redline.

2. Create a Time Diary: Just like food diary, keep track of what it is you actually do in a day. Create and keep a time diary and use it to see where your time is actually going and determine if it really is important or not. I was able to give myself 2 hours a day back to my family and myself by doing this.

3. Change Your Language: Stop using the word busy. Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time,’ trying saying ‘it’s not a priority’ and see how that feels. You might have the time to do something, but you just don’t have the desire to do it.  You may not feel good about it right way, but it helps you put how you spend your time into perspective.

4. Tune Out: Stop checking email, Twitter, Facebook, Google for the latest news or sports results. This is a hard one especially in the connected culture we live in, but being able to disconnect and turn off our devices helps focus your attention. When I’m in meetings my phone is face down, when I get home from work, I leave my phone and laptop locked away for a period of time—it’s all so I can focus on those around me.

5. Rest, Relax, Renew: Take the time you have been denying yourself and put yourself first. You need to call a time out and take care of yourself; otherwise we put ourselves last. There is a reason why the pause button, intermission, and rebooting exist. Just start with 10 minuets a day to give yourself room to breathe. Doing this alone I found more joy in my life. After all who doesn’t want a little more joy in their lives?

How do you stop from being busy? Do you know someone caught up in the cult of busy?  Do them a favor and share this post with them. I’m sure they will thank you!

In a world moving way too fast, do you need focus because you fill every “spare” moment rather than taking an intermission to be present in every moment? Checkout my book Framing Faith and sign up for exclusive updates and give aways.  

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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