Have you noticed that everyone is in such a hurry these days? Wait 2 seconds before pulling off at the traffic lights, and someone behind you will hoot impatiently. Take too long packing your bags after paying at the grocery store and you can literally feel the person behind you breathing down your neck to get a move on. Ask anyone how they are and they’ll say ‘I’m sooooo busy!’. We have every time-saving device we could dream of and still we don’t feel like we have enough time.
I’m not going to give you another time-saving hack right now in the hopes that it’ll help you stop feeling the need to hurry. I’ve tried quite a lot of them myself. And yes they can be useful for sure. But sometimes if you try and fill every minute of every day by trying to (constantly) get things done and try to do it at 100mph all the time, you’ll have no peace. So yes, this is productivity advice – but it’s about having peace of mind while still getting things done.
I could tell you to meditate. I’ve tried it myself, but frankly, it wasn’t for me – it just felt like something else I had to remember to ‘do’ on a daily basis. Note to self: MUST meditate in order to feel more relaxed before rushing off to next appointment!!! Apart from the fact that I don’t subscribe to the belief that it’s worthwhile to ’empty’ my mind of all thoughts, it’s a nice idea to take a bit of time out to just sit and ‘be’.
But what I’ve found far more effective than that is just to S-L-O-W down in everything I do. And I can’t begin to tell you how much more peace I feel. Rather than feeling anxious because I’m slowing down, and thinking that I won’t get everything done, I actually feel calmer and have a greater sense that I DO have time to get all of the important things in my life done.
As a result also, I’m enjoying my time with my children far more. They naturally slow us down, don’t they? They don’t live by the frantic pace we do – and have you noticed how much more they enjoy life than most adults?
It takes FAITH to slow down. Faith that even if you slow down, you’ll get it all done. It takes no faith at all to try and do everything in a big rush to fit it all in. What that does is reinforce in your mind the idea that you simply don’t have enough time, so you have to do everything at breakneck speed in order to try and finish the to-do list.
Did you know too that when you slow down, your brain is in a more creative state and you’re far more likely to get a brilliant idea or solution to that business problem or issue at work you’ve been mulling over? When we rush, we literally ‘don’t have time to think’ and end up being much like a proverbial hamster in a cage. Our hurrying causes us to think less effectively. In fact, if you’re always hurrying, you may have what is termed ‘hurry sickness’, a malady very common to our modern society.
So just SLOW.DOWN.WILL.YOU.
Even if you get less done, you’ll enjoy your life so much more if you do it at a reasonable pace. If you’re hurrying through every part of your life, you actually enjoy none of it. That’s right. Zero. Zilch. I know – I’ve been there. It comes from performance orientation (generally) or just fear that you have to hurry to keep up. I have struggled with it for years. It’s a difficult habit to break.
I’m not saying that I no longer want to be efficient or intelligently find a quicker route to do things if one exists – I’m not referring to that. That actually involves thinking time – and thinking of ways to improve on processes, projects or tasks we do regularly that could be optimised. That’s good and helpful. I’m referring to the ‘rushing’ through of things in a mindless fashion because of a habit of hurrying. Think of the rabbit in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – it’s a picture of someone who has no peace and is getting everywhere fast, but isn’t having a whole lot of fun on the journey. I’m also referring to those times when we’re with family or we’re driving, grocery shopping or doing housework – and we still hurry through all of it. If we take time to think about it, no one actually wants to live like that.
Maybe this is not a problem for you like it has been for me (and will be again unless I intentionally make myself aware of it and consciously work at it). But humour me for a moment and just allow yourself to notice and become more aware of the pace with which you are doing things, and if it’s frenetic, just slow it down to a happier pace. You will be amazed at how much more you begin to notice what’s around you and the peace you can begin to experience.
And maybe by the end of your days you’ll have written one less book (or blog post) or notched up a couple of fewer accomplishments, but you’ll be savouring life so much that you’ll probably find that you really don’t care.