Too Busy to Learn?

 With less than two weeks until Christmas, life sometimes feels like it's spinning out of control.  The calendar calls for a "yearly review", a chance to pause and shine a light on the year's accomplishments and challenges.  But gifts to buy and wrap, parties to attend, and the myriad other holiday details keep us hopping.  I feel like it's a chore to find the time to fit my workout in, let alone spend time pondering personal development or enrichment.  The thing is, I can't "punt" the next two weeks – they are too critical to be spent unproductively.  But I also don't want to miss out on spending this precious time with my family, so I've spent some time today pondering how to make the most of the little time I can spare during the upcoming days. 

Here are a few of my conclusions for how I can still fit learning and personal empowerment into these happy, yet hectic, holidays:

  • Listen and Learn – I have several podcasts I enjoy, and this is the perfect season to be an auditory learner.  In fact, a trip to the mall can provide the perfect half hour for a podcast professional development seminar and a two mile walk all in one.
  • Learn Seasonally – Today, I wrote an article for CE on multi-cultural holiday celebrations.  I not only learned several new traditions I can share with my kids (such as attending a "Posada"), but also picked up some new ethnic recipes, a few foreign language phrases and learned the location of the region of Moravia. 
  • Learn from the Best – If you know your time is limited, it's ok to scale back on the usual reading you do.  Prioritize your visits to your tried and true resources – those who consistently inspire and uplift you and encourage you to try to do better today than you did yesterday.
  • Learn from your Family – Some of life's most valuable lessons have been taught to me by my children:  Be patient.  Hugs always feel good.  Sometimes a nap can help put things into perspective.  Get along with whoever brought the ball.  Take time to play.

Learning can happen even in the midst of mistletoe madness – don't take the next two weeks off from your drive to be your personal best.  Just embrace this time and be on the lookout for life lessons – they are everywhere.  Strike up a chat with the guy standing next to you in that long holiday line at the post office …who knows what you might learn!


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at

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