The good people at Sacristy Press have published my ebook Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour as a paperback. http://www.sacristy.co.uk/books/ministry-resources/time-wisdom-in-an-hour
They have done a nice job and, while I like the portability of the eBook, I also like having a real book in my hand: turning the pages, making a margin note with a pencil and so on. And what’s more, with a paperback you can lend a copy to your friend – or leave it in a public place for a random stranger to pick up. I saw someone do this with a thriller recently. It seems such a fun idea. But to do it with a little book about time wisdom is a potentially transformative act of charity.
I have emphasized the need for clergy to get wise about time. But the reality is that there is need for very many people in all walks of life and at different stages in life’s journey to wise up about time too. Recent editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times carried articles explaining the ills of busyness, and in April 2010 the Harvard Business Review warned of the dangers of what authors Heike Bruch and Jochen I. Menges, called ‘The Acceleration Trap’, whereby companies and corporations both demand more and more in terms of productivity and simply keep changing things.
This is why Time wisdom matters so much!
Time wisdom is ‘time management plus’. Time management tends to treat time as if it were a limited resource which can be used more or less efficiently. As I put it in the micro-paperback: Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour
Time wisdom says that what matters about time is not only physics but biology, psychology and spirituality. People have complex needs, curious cycles and, thankfully, individual and not always predictable thoughts and feelings. … Time is also the opportunity, the wonder and mystery of the present moment. Time is a new turn of the kaleidoscope of possibilities which requires of us not efficient reaction, but creative response based on a careful reading of the ever changing patterns. This is part of the joy of life …
Regular readers of this blog will know that I recently challenged people to give up busyness for Lent. Some of those who took it on said it was the toughest Lenten challenge they have ever encountered – the busy habit was so ingrained, the demon busyness so powerful. It was not that there was more and more work to do necessarily, but that the need to be busy had inched its way into the soul – squeezing out the contemplative space and creating a frenzy of on-going and draining activity.
Those who tried it reported that some of the tips I suggested, like never letting people get away with calling you ’busy’, not using the word as a self-description, and finding some regular time each day to do absolutely nothing had a big impact on them and helped them ease themselves out of a dangerous rut.
As for myself – I tried it too and also found it a real test. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that having gone so public in this area I would be challenged – and I was almost flooded out with new work, unexpected opportunities and even a family bereavement. Through it all I remained resolute that come what may I would not let the demon busyness get into my soul. I think I just about keep it at bay – but it is a constant struggle. I shall be taking an hour to reread my own little book every now and again: just to help keep the upper hand with regard to busyness.