“The result of busyness is that an individual is very seldom permitted to form a heart.” — Søren Kierkegaard

Being “busy” seems to be the normal state of affairs for most people. But what’s the cost of letting busyness dominate your life? According to Kierkegaard, doing so can directly affect the development of the heart. Although you may be productive on the outside, your heart may remain undeveloped or become malformed in the midst of all the non-stop activity.

Now, one reason you may feel compelled to stay busy is out of a deep desire to not waste the life you’ve been given. But what if one way to not waste your life is to, ironically, be okay with “wasting” some of it on things that aren’t the most productive? You may not be “producing” anything in those moments, but you might actually be present. You might be really listening to those you’re close to or enjoying the world around you—and doing so without constantly thinking about what’s next on the agenda or all the things still undone. You may finally find some space to reflect on your actions and end up growing in your love for others as a result.

If you care about the kind of person you’re becoming—loving or selfish, kind or mean, arrogant or humble, generous or stingy—then always being in a hurry is not helpful. Being preoccupied with what’s next may actually end up causing you to miss the very moments that make up this life. And although always being on the go may make you feel productive, the more important question is, what’s happening to your heart in the process? Is it growing or shriveling—or going ignored—along the way?