It seems like everywhere you look today, people are in a hurry. We race to work, rush through our assignments, multi-task, and run “orange” lights. For many of us, hurry has become a habit. We get so used to rushing around that we only feel comfortable when we are moving full speed ahead.
Hurry increases stress
I must have the proposal completed by 9!…I need to be in the pick-up line by 2!
If we must rush to meet a deadline, we have no margin for error. Circumstances which are not inherently stressful now become tense (e.g. a slow moving car, the printer being out of paper.) Toss in a real problem (a flat tire, a computer crash) and the stress level shoots off the chart.
Hurry damages relationships
When we are rushed, we focus primarily on ourselves. We tend to shut out distractions – including friends and family – in order to accomplish a task. We are hyper-aware of our own needs at the expense of those around us. If this is a pattern, we risk being perceived as unavailable and uncaring.
Hurry undermines excellence
While some people claim to do their best work under pressure, most people actually perform better when they pace themselves. Common consequences of a “rush job” include:
– shallow thinking
– “bending” of the rules/cutting corners
– lack of creativity
SO…. CAN HURRY BE ELIMINATED?
It would be naïve to suggest that hurry can be completely eliminated; the fast-paced lifestyle is here to stay. In addition, a healthy amount of work and activity is a good thing… too much time can be equally dangerous. However, if you feel that you may have fallen into the hurry habit, here are a few slogans to embrace:
“Good things happen when you show up early”
What are some of the good things? Time to relax, time to park, time to scope out the room, time to observe through the window, time to have a sip of coffee… the list is endless. In addition, early provides flexibility for the unexpected (e.g. traffic, broken projector).
“Late isn’t great”
Being chronically late – for meetings, appointments, or deadlines- damages credibility. At best it is considered rude, at worst it is perceived as incompetent. There is no glory in being late.
“Today trumps tomorrow”
The truth is that we never know what tomorrow will bring… could be a beautiful day, but could be an unexpected mess. Any task completed today will be a gift of time you give yourself tomorrow. Be kind to yourself!
“Overwhelmed people ask for help”
If you have more to do that one person can accomplish, then you need to explore getting some help. “Doing it all” isn’t heroic, it is exhausting.
“One thing at a time”
By now you have probably heard about the downside of multitasking. If you are a skeptic, just try to do only one thing at a time for a day or two. Let your own results determine whether this is a change you need to make.
“Deep breathing requires breathing room”
Everyone needs a little “white” space in the day – time that isn’t scheduled. Sometimes this will be swallowed by unexpected developments, but others it will provide a window to think, dream, read, and reflect… all of which decompress and alleviate stress.
If hurry is a habit you’ve fallen into, maybe it is time to choose another way. Do you have a technique for intentionally slowing down?