Book Review: Doing Busy Better, Glynnis Whitwer

Book Review: Doing Busy Better, Glynnis Whitwer

July 4, 2017
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Glynnis Whitwer knows what busy feels like. The author, speaker, and mother of five is executive director of communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries. For years, Whitwer struggled with overcommitment. She describes cyclical busyness, something many will identify with: “optimism, saying yes, living at warp speed, feeling overwhelmed, and swearing this will never happen again—until it does.” Convinced there is a better way, Whitwer offers her newest release, Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest.

Since I have a type-A, driven personality, I enjoy reading books about productivity, balance, and time management. What makes Doing Busy Better stand out is the effective weaving together of three strands: personal anecdotes, biblical wisdom, and gentle instruction.

Reading Whitwer’s words feels like sitting down for coffee talk with a trusted mentor. I identify with her descriptions of a busy life. Her stories about overcoming hurry give me hope. Solid biblical teaching invites godly wisdom to the conversation. Whitwer gives readers actionable steps to give the frantic woman a roadmap for a more peaceful life.

Let’s Get to the Bottom of Busy

It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see. Whitwer invites the reader to explore the root causes of being overbusy. She doesn’t hone in on just one cause but offers a well-rounded view of the heart issues associated with our hectic pace of life. Guilt, responsibility, identity, and self-esteem to name a few. The base issue, however, is believing “we are our own providers and we know better than God.”

When we fel that our safety, security, and significance depend on us, we will not know when to stop working. We will push ourselves beyond capacity. And we will take on more than we can handle. (Glynnis Whitwer)

Doing Busy BetterWhat to Do about the Busy

Just as the title promises, Whitwer offers ways to do busy better. After exploring why you are so busy, she offers hope. Starting with the spiritual, Whitwer encourages readers to put God first and seek to understand what his to-do list for us looks like. “God’s to-do list always involves loving others fully, being patient, and only doing the things He assigns me to do” (Glynnis Whitwer). She releases us from the need to do everything, advising we follow God’s pattern for a work-rest balance—six days of work with one day for Sabbath rest.

It is also important to address our priorities. Pausing to recenter our hearts on God will help us keep that growing list of responsibilities in proper perspective. In the book, Whitwer provides questions to ask ourselves in order to establish priorities. Whitwer also covers other practical topics including Sabbath rest, when it’s okay to quit, how to plan, and effective list-making strategies.

The Benefits of Doing Busy Better

Besides the increased margin and peace, managing our busy helps us love others better.

To love others we must be fully present. That’s when I feel most loved by others. When someone stops what they are doing and makes it clear there’s no place they’d rather be than with me—it fills up my emotional love tank. (Glynnis Whitwer)

It also helps us to respond to others appropriately. Whitwer advises, “Time helps me calm down and see things from another’s perspective.”

Whitwer isn’t preachy with her words. While each chapter is full of wisdom, you get the sense she sometimes struggles to maintain a healthy balance between her commitments to productivity and rest. Instead of talking down to those of us still in the fight, she is beside us, cheering us on toward a better, more peaceful pace of life. The woman who operates at full throttle all the time won’t feel defeated after finishing Doing Busy Better. Whitwer doesn’t condemn busy. She says, “Being busy isn’t the problem. Being busy in an unhealthy way is.”

Doing Busy Better is a quick read, leaving the reader with a clear idea of how to take the next right step toward doing busy better. This book is ideal for small groups, book clubs, and individual study. Additional resources including a sample first chapter and a bonus study guide are available at

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Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children spanning preschool to teen. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at

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