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SHANTAL MUNRO-KNIGHT: A world of ‘too much busy’


SHANTAL MUNRO-KNIGHT: A world of ‘too much busy’

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SOMEONE RECOMMENDED THAT I READ a book titled How To Thrive In World Of Too Much Busy.

Coincidentally, when I sat to read the book on a recent trip home, the television screen in front of me was also showing a movie about how busy everyone is and the fact that we need to slow down. 

Both the book and the television show resonated with me on many levels.

All of our lives have become too busy. Most of us are forever rushing from one thing to the other, struggling to juggle the many roles that we are called to play. With time seeming to have sped up as well, there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.

One of the interesting things that the book indicated was that our brains are not built for constant busyness – it needs its downtime; we get a short-term buzz from being hyper-connected and constantly on the go. However, according to the book, studies have shown that having the brain constantly on overload can actually reduce your cognition and lower your IQ.    

Everywhere I go people are saying the same thing: they are tired, lack sleep, feel frustrated at the amount of things they need to get done and seem not able to actually do.

Interestingly, I hear this from mostly women but that is another story. One lady was telling me that her brain is constantly on in her sleep. She goes to sleep harried and wakes up feeling overwhelmed because everything she was not able to get done the day before is added everything she needs to do the next day.

Another lady was telling me she cannot remember the last time she had time to go out with friends, genuinely laugh and just relax without looking at her phone, checking something on Facebook, or mentally doing a checklist in her head. My life is like this, made up of rushing, worrying and franticness full of activity with limited rest.

At Christmas the pace is just doubled or perhaps tripled. Everything we normally have to do is magnified by the extra shopping and cleaning.

No matter what plan I have each year for the next Christmas not to be as mad as the one before, it never comes to fruition. What my book tells me is that being so busy actually stops your brain and body from functioning optimally and that some time away from everything actually allows your body to recharge and bounce back.

It also says that being so overwhelmed with everything creates havoc on your emotions. A tired brain cannot always think rationally or be in good cheer. We see everything through tired frustrated eyes. Our “glasses are always empty half full”.

With all of us feeling the same way, we are in our busyness creating a society of unfulfilled, miserable, and worried people. My book says “stop, disconnect for a while and smile”.

Sounds all airy-fairy and like lala land. However, as I have reflected I have found that certainly for people like me, we can lose sight of the most important things like friends, family and a good raucous laugh every now and then.

The things we need to get done are important, but you know what? For this season I have not done a couple of things that I needed to do, I have checked my phone less, tried to sleep when I was tired, and consciously smiled more. The sky did not fall from its place and the world did not stop spinning on its axis.    

We can tend to be caught up in our own world, our own problems and all of the things we need to get done that we lose sight of the real problems and genuine needs of others. We can forget that Christmas is more about the sharing and caring and less about spending the hundreds of dollars on buying new curtains and furniture. We can forget that this season is supposed to be about the biggest sacrificial gift ever given to the world and lose sight of the responsibility that it also places on us to give back, to care, love and be kind.

So as I say Merry Christmas to everyone, I encourage you to smile more, care more, love one another a bit more, and remind that the things of this world are temporary and transient.

When our days are done, the world will not remember what we had and not even so much what we did, but how we loved and made them smile.

Shantal Munro-Knight is a development specialist and executive coordinator at the Caribbean Policy Development Centre. Email [email protected]