Can We Be “Good Busy?”

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How many conversations have you encountered that go something like this:  “Hello friend, how are you?”  There is a pause, the shoulders sag, and the universal answer is exhaled: “BUSY!”

“Busyness” seems to be ubiquitous in American culture today.  It is often even claimed as some kind of twisted medal of honor–Who’s the busiest?  The strange thing is, for all our embracing of busyness, there still seems to be a great deal of unease about our frantic schedules.  Every January, stores fill up with calendars and products designed to help YOU take control of your time. Oprah magazine articles and myriad self-help books pile up promising the secret to time management.  And yet, if it were as easy to manage our time as buying the right product or reading the correct article, wouldn’t we have it all figured out by now?

North Carolina author, Ph.D. candidate, and mother of two, Julia Scatliff O’Grady, set out on a bold adventure to see if she, and the people in her life, could have a different relationship with time than the push/pull of “never-enough.”  She wondered: if busyness is an inescapable part of modern life, is there a way to be GOOD busy?  She interviewed 10 people, and found that while each had a slightly different take on how to relate to time, all had something to offer her.  They also encouraged her to find her own path to good busy.

She put her findings together into a new book, Good Busy: Productivity, Procrastination and the Endless Pursuit of Balance, which is generating some interesting conversations already.  If you’re in the Triangle, come to one of her book signings that include a reading and discussion with one of the people profiled.  She also participated in a fascinating NPR show reflecting on how we use time in the modern age, which you can listen to here.  Even if you don’t have time to read a new book, perhaps just thinking about the question of your relationship with time can bear fruit in your life.  After all,  as Ecclesiastes reminds us, God makes all things beautiful in their time,  and God has placed eternity in our hearts.  (Eccl. 3:11)


–by Caren Swanson

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