For the last couple of days I have been giving people red wrist bands which say ‘I’M NOT BUSY’. With one exception they have been delighted. (The one exception is a Newcastle United fan who won’t wear anything red).
I thought it would have been a harder sell. People seem to wear their busyness with pride, albeit anxious pride. But offered a wristband many seem to be saying, ‘yes, you’re right, not-busy is better’.
One person at the Cathedral where I am based said, ‘I can’t wear that, I am on pastoral duty.’
I said, ‘If you are on pastoral duty you can’t be busy.’
He got the point and put it on.
A friend put it on with delight, She was planning a winter dip the North Sea: ‘but I’m not taking this off,’ she said. ‘It’s so liberating.’
Another friend, a nun, has just sent out a message to the community’s associates inviting them to join her in giving up ‘haste and busyness’. We naively think that a convent or monastery would never be busy, but busyness gets everywhere. Too many institutions and lives have fallen into what an article in the Harvard Business Review called ‘The Acceleration Trap’.
I wish I had thought up the ‘Give Up Busyness for Lent’ idea. I didn’t. But it’s a good one and I am delighted to be promoting it – even if it has generated a bit of work and made me a bit busier than expected this last fortnight, as I have prepared content for the website and written a very short book, Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour.
So giving up busyness for Lent very timely for me.
Maybe it is for you too.