5 Boundaries to Help You Break Busy

boundaries for busyness

How many times have you answered the congenial greeting, “How are you?” with, “Crazy busy!”? Our days are filled with long lists of have to’s, want to’s and need to’s. Busy has become a status symbol proving our value and worth. If we stay busy then we must be important.

I feel the stress of living on the hamster wheel of crazy busy. I remember one Tuesday in particular. I rushed out of work a few minutes late to pick up the kids at school, only to find traffic extremely slow on the two-lane highway. My pulse increased, as did my tapping foot of impatience. I strategized a way to juggle the kids this way and that in order to make it to piano lessons on time. When I finally arrived at the girls’ school, I was short with them, demanding they make up for my tardiness by moving faster. We pulled into the parking lot five minutes late. I exhaled my sorrow and frustration at this constant pace of life we were in.

Something had to change.

In her book, Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Busy, Alli Worthington defines crazy busy:

Crazy busy is a life without peace. It’s marked by decisions made for the appoval of the world, not the approval of God. It’s filled with what we think we “should” do, what we think will make others happy, and what we think being a good person (or good girl) looks like. All this busyness, in the end, keeps us just out of reach of the life we were created to live.

I felt the full weight of that statement on that frenetic Tuesday. I still feel it like a too-heavy pendant around my neck. There is a distance between the life I live and the life I was created to live. It is a distance I created with my busyness.

Boundaries keep us from stepping too far—be it relationships, our health, or work. In order to break my busy, I must establish boundaries around my heart, my time, and my expectations.

For today’s #FridayFive, I am mapping out five boundaries for busyness.

Friday Five



Maintain a connection with God.

Determine here and now that time with God is non-negotiable. Our relationship with God keeps us grounded in truth. We are able to maintain an eternal perspective as we read His word and share our concerns in prayer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV).


Stick to your calling.

We have to make sure we spend time doing things that actually get us closer to our goals. (Alli Worthington, Breaking Busy)

My calendar can be like a plate on a buffet line. As I move past the appetizing choices, I add a little of this and a little of that until I find I have more than I can handle. I have to pre-determine what I will select in order to avoid getting too much. I must limit my activities to those which match my calling. If it doesn’t move me closer to my created purpose, it gets a “no.” Which leads me to my next boundary.


Say no.

When you say yes to something, you also say no to something. Yes to volunteering at the school means no to writing. Yes to clean baseboards means no to coffee with friends. Once you determine how you want to spend your time, begin to use that powerful little word to turn down opportunities as they arise.

Choose the momentary awkwardness of saying no (with love) and disapointing someone rather than saying yes and resenting it later. (Alli Worthington, Breaking Busy)


Prioritize rest.

My husband doesn’t like it when I attribute a child’s bad behavior to being tired. But any mom knows a tired child is often an unruly child. The same is true for us. If we run at a break-neck pace all the time, we become irritable and sometimes downright surly.

Get the sleep you need to be the best you can be. You will make better decisions if you are rested and have a clear head. Feed your soul by engaging in activities that rejuvenate you. Saying yes to rest and self-care may mean the dishes stay in the sink overnight, but it is a worthy sacrifice.


Limit expectation.

Expectations come at us from every direction. Family traditions, social media, and self-imposed standards can saddle us with a long list of things we should do. Consider making a list of all the things you feel you should do. Then take out a big, fat, red pen and start marking through the ones that don’t match up with God’s expectations for you.

Just because we live in a world of seemingly endless expectations doesn’t mean we have to live up to them. (Alli Worthington, Breaking Busy)


boundaries for busyness

Are you ready to break busy? Start by setting boundaries around your heart, your schedule, and your expectations. Pre-order Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Busy and get the Breaking Busy Guide Book FREE here.


#FridayFive Link Up

Have you mastered boundaries in marriage, parenting, and life in general? Is there an area, like my own busyness, in need of boundaries? Share in the comments, or link up a boundary post using the button below.

January Friday Five

Be sure to come back next week to share Five New Experiences! We will have one month of the new year behind us. What new things have you tried or want to try?

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boundaries for busyness

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  1. Oh my goodness! This is SO TRUE! Thank you for the wonderful post…many great reminders here. I struggle the most with prioritizing rest.

  2. I love that first quote. Such good thoughts here. In this year when my word is “less,” I definitely want to make sure that what I’m busy doing is what I’m supposed to be doing, If it brings joy and fulfillment, then busy is great. But anxiety and irritability? (And I am good that that last one when I feel too busy.) Something’s not right there.

  3. Hooray for existing the hamster wheel!! Lots of wisdom here. I’m praying for you as you pursue your healthy boundaries.

  4. Terri Lynn Beasley January 22, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Sooo timely – I might have sat in my living room griping to my mom until almost 11pm last night about how busy I am. I am working and raising kids and keeping house, pursing my calling (music), and working on losing weight – and exhausted! She said I needed to perceive my time as a closet that should be cleaned out. I think this book would be a Great fit for this season!!!

  5. These are so true and definitely things that I struggle with and you put it so beautifully!

  6. Perfect! There are seasons in which we find ourselves busy and FULL and that is ok…it’s when we do it as a lifestyle when we completely miss the mark. 🙂

  7. expectations have been killer in my marriage. I’m slowly working on lifting those and appreciating my husband for who he is.

  8. Another great one. Thank you for all you do!! 🙂

  9. Good job, Kelly! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  10. I am saving this post to read again and again! Thank you for the wonderful reminders!

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