We live in a society that praises busyness. We wake up in the morning, rush to go to work, get our work done as fast as we can and rush home. Then we eat fast or eat fast-food and go on with other activities before going to bed. And when we have a minute, we check our phone! I have to say I’m guilty of some of those but I’m trying to change.
What is busyness?
We tend to confuse busyness with productivity but most of the time they are not the same. Another misconception is that if you’re not busy you must have a problem, such as you’re not sociable enough because you don’t go out every night or you’re lazy since you don’t have a lot of hobbies and sport activities.
To me, busyness is chasing too many things at once and not leaving room for (or neglecting) what matters the most. I have nothing against activities or social engagements but in order to keep our family life simple and our time productive, we pick and choose what’s most important to us.
What is quietness?
I find it very difficult to put quietness into words. I’m sure of one thing, quietness is to not always be busy but it is not the opposite of being busy. Practicing quietness is engaging in a carefully selected activity, enjoying it fully moment to moment and not worrying about rushing to the next activity. Keep in mind that these activities don’t need to be mind-blowing, they should be simply important to you.
Learning the art of quietness
First, you might need to cut some activities. If your schedule is so busy that you’re having a hard time to enjoy most of what you’re doing and you’re always rushing from one thing to the other, consider reevaluating your priorities.
Second, select activities that matter to you and your loved ones. You can start by choosing an activity that allows you to think, meditate and pray. This one is literally quieter but doesn’t need to be long. Everyone needs alone time. Then according to your priorities, select a few activities but leave space for spontaneity. To help you in your selection, read how defining your identity can help set your priorities.
Third, be fully present. In every activity, try your best to be in the moment. While at work, focus on the task at hand, performing one task at a time if possible. When walking with your kids, leave your “work brain” at the office, focus on their laughter, the birds, your feet hitting the ground. Here are 12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools by Leo Babauta that will help you be more mindful. Don’t worry about the past or the future (this guide can help manage your thoughts) but be patient with yourself – your mind will wander, just bring it back to now.