Three Books on Busyness

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On Sunday I spoke at ChristChurch London on the subject of busyness, as part of our Simplify series. The audio should be available in the next day or so, but in the meantime, here are three books I found really helpful in preparation:

Simplify, by Bill Hybels

This is a great book, and one that inspired the whole sermon series. It’s classic Hybels; simple and accessible, but challenging and practical, full of great principles and helpful personal illustrations.

The content spreads further than just busyness, and it looks at how to simplify every area of our lives: getting our finances in order, managing our diaries, ensuring our relationships are healthy and balanced.

I read it quite quickly in preparation for the series, but have already marked chapters to go back and re-read slowly, as there are plenty of exercises and habits that I could do with applying.

Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung

As the subtitle says, this is ‘a mercifully short book about a really big problem’! At 122 pages long (and small pages at that!) this is the first book I would recommend on the subject of busyness, as its size makes it non-daunting for even the most time-poor individual.

What I appreciated most about this book was the way it expressed how busyness is so often a manifestation of pride. Various books and articles I’d read on the subject had talked about how to handle and/or reduce busyness, but DeYoung’s diagnostic chapters were really eye-opening in that they got to the heart of why we tolerate and even celebrate busyness. At its root is often a mixture of pride, people-pleasing, and a desire for prestige or pity. Recognising this helped me understand why I so often find myself swamped. It’s not simply that there’s too much to do; it’s that my heart is an idol-factory.

The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness, by Tim Chester

There were many similarities between Chester’s book and DeYoung’s and DeYoung had clearly relied on this book at many points.

This book was a little longer and tad more practical, but there wasn’t a great deal of difference between the two. I’d definitely recommend it, although if you’re only going to pick one, I think the brevity and snappier writing style of Crazy Busy mean I’d suggest DeYoung’s book over this.


Image: Writer’s Block I by Drew Coffman, used under CC BY 2.0

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