“Breaking Busy” by Alli Worthington – Book Review


If you feel your life is too crazy, you might want to read Alli Worthington’s book, Breaking Busy.

You’ll pick up a few tips. You’ll be motivated to drop some things or change some things in your life. She makes some valid points.

But as I read, this nagging feeling stayed with me: To break busy, stop reading books that don’t add much value to my life. I’m getting better at it. I can stop cold-turkey if a book isn’t worth my time.

But when I receive books to review as in this case, I have to make it to the end.

So while I can’t whole-heartedly recommend this book—not because it’s bad, but just because it’s nothing new—here are some things I did glean from it.

Quotes from Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington:

~ * ~ * ~

Signs your body gives that you’re too busy:

  • Sign #1: An Inability to Control Your Emotions
  • Sign #2: Lack of Self-Care
  • Sign #3: Illness
  • Sign #4: Chronic Lateness
  • Sign #5: Self-Medicating and Excess
  • Sign #6: Neglecting Important Relationships
  • Sign #7: Neglecting God

~ * ~ * ~

Ask yourself if you have ever thought, “I’ll be happy when . . .” Do you believe the lie that you can’t really be happy and have peace in your life until some benchmark is reached?

~ * ~ * ~

Questions to ask yourself to identify your passions:

  1. What activities have you loved since childhood?
  2. What tugs at your heart?
  3. If money were no object, what would you do for free?
  4. What energizes you?
  5. What is something everyone says you are good at?

~ * ~ * ~

My favorite saying used to be, “I just need a few more hours in each day!” But what I learned was that I didn’t need more time. I needed to focus on my goals and what I needed to do to reach them.

~ * ~ * ~

I like to ask myself what “future Alli” will think about decisions. Whether it is eating that extra piece of carrot cake with ice cream (and I can put away extra pieces of carrot cake and ice cream!) or taking time away from writing this book and the family to speak at an event. When I think of what “future Alli” will be happy with, it makes the decision making clearer.

~ * ~ * ~

Just because we live in a world of seemingly endless expectations doesn’t mean we have to live up to them.

* * *

Read Chapter One here

Read more quotes and get Alli’s digital toolkit here

My thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of this book

20 thoughts on ““Breaking Busy” by Alli Worthington – Book Review

  1. Barbara H.

    Sounds interesting. I’m not inclined towards these types of books because I already know I need to put into practice some of the things you mentioned. If/when I get those down and feel I need more ideas, then I might seek out a book like this. One thing I have learned, though, is that adjusting my time is not a once-for-all event. I used to get discouraged because it seemed like I was having to make continual adjustments and never could get down the “perfect” schedule. Then I realized that’s just life – situations change, seasons of life change, new calls on my time arise regularly, so that evaluating and adjusting has to be an ongoing process.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m with you, Barbara. I’m not sure why I even opted to review this book because I basically knew what she’d say anyway; I just don’t always *do* it. 🙂

      I think aging can teach us as much as anything. I tend to build more margin in my life now and I love the way that feels. And I also totally agree about the “perfect” schedule constantly changing. While I do tend to keep a similar structure from week to week, I know from year to year it will definitely look different, and even day to day I have to remain flexible or else get frustrated. An “ongoing process” for sure.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Interesting way of looking at things, and sort of dovetails with something I’ve been thinking about.

    So much of my life was busy, and a rush to somewhere else…and now, close to its end, I’ve learned that there is a perfect circle…that the non-attachment of Zen meets and embraces Christ.

    Business is ‘attachment to’ something, be it future, self-image, or the cossetting of how we imagine others see that image. It’s not innately bad, but we can recognize that it’s not limited to the temporal sphere, that the good of it is held and completed for us by the Almighty for us to enjoy in His presence.

    We don’t have to be attached. We can let it go, not because it was never ours but because it ALWAYS was, and God is holding it in trust. It’s safe.

    Nothing good is ever lost.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate these reflections, Andrew. I agree; we don’t have to be attached but can let it go. I don’t always do it, but I want to do so more.

      Love these truths you share: “God is holding it in trust. It’s safe.
      Nothing good is ever lost.” Amen.

  3. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! These are some great questions. I know I also moan about needing more time, but you know, I’d probably just squander it anyway. I have to be more intentional with my time! Clear choices sounds so wonderful…I have to keep practicing that.

    Happy St. Pats Day!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Being more intentional with our time…yep, that’s basically what it boils down to with me also, Ceil.
      (I just noticed I have no green on today; oops. ha)

  4. Linda Stoll

    Yep the signs are there in black and white. The older I get, the more I’m paying attention to what my body’s speaking to me.

    I don’t always like what it’s saying … but that’s 60 talking loud and clear …

  5. Betty Draper

    Good quotes from the books. I have read several like this book through the years and usually pick up a few things and actually put some of it into practice. I think these kind of books are great for young Mom’s and believers, they are just started to build their store of good ideas on issues.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, Betty. I still have things I need to learn of course, but these books are sometimes better suited for those still learning things that we had to learn years ago. 🙂

  6. Debbie Williams

    I guess even though we hear it over and over Lisa we still need reminders. I enjoyed reading your review and reminders. You really did a great job with summarizing the book, and you know what maybe that’s why you were led to it by God to share with others that haven’t heard it yet.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a good way to look at it all, Debbie. After I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure why I had agreed to, but you’re right: maybe it wasn’t just for myself but to share something from it that someone else could use too.

  7. Pam

    Thanks, Lisa! I am so with you on this! I identify with all you said here. I recently started reading a book another blogger had reviewed which is so blessing me because it is not about “to do” lists and tips, but about receiving rest as a gift from the Lord. Not sure if you saw that review of The Radical Pursuit of Rest by John Koessler, but it is the best I have read on the subject and very freeing and releasing. Nice to hear someone else might be in the same place I have been and often am on the topic (or even with the challenge of finishing reading a book for a review that isn’t inspiring me)!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t think I saw the review on The Radical Pursuit of Rest, but you’ve definitely got me curious now, Pam. Thanks for sharing your find! I like hearing what inspires others.

  8. Jean Wise

    Good honest review and good reminder too. Great title for a book. I read the other day for non fiction – you don’t have to read all the book to get the wisdom you need from its words. That gave me permission to set some aside earlier than I felt called too. I am to the place I want to find that nugget of truth – easier to remember and apply – then move on to the next shiny light, errrr I mean book. LOL

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I liked the book’s title too. I like more the wisdom you’re sharing: we don’t have to read every word to get what we need from a book. There’s a lot of freedom in that for someone like me who is usually too compelled to not skip a word once I commit to a book. ha. I recently “read” Thoreau’s “Walden” (finally) but definitely did not read every word yet I still feel like I benefited from the pieces I did read.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Perhaps you’re right and this is harsh for me. haha. Typically if I don’t like a book, I won’t mention it at all (out of sight, out of mind). But sometimes that’s not possible. And fortunately this wasn’t a bad book; just not particularly informative to me at this season (that’s a nice way to put it, yes?).

  9. bluecottonmemory

    I like how you say in a comment above that you now “build margin into your day” – I don’t think I could survive without margin built into my day because I understand how I am innately poorly handle quick changes. Those margins I build in, help me gain my balance – because it never fails – my day is going to change. Your last sentence was a gem: “Just because we live in a world of seemingly endless expectations doesn’t mean we have to live up to them” – oh, that is liberating – and it makes me wonder if I would have understood that when I was much younger. Maybe that is the silver lining of growing older – we slowly disentangle ourselves from things that hinder us from being who God designed us to be.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’ve nailed me too: “I innately poorly handle quick changes.” I do better when I have a little time to think about how to respond to change, given the choice. 🙂 I hope you’re right that in growing older, we can do that a little better than we did as young wives and mothers. Because, definitely, our days are full of change! (Has a single day every gone exactly as planned? I can’t think of one. ha)

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