Life is hectic. Our jobs and responsibilities are constantly clawing at our time. As a result, we frequently try to squeeze more into our day than can comfortably fit. Rarely do we find ourselves saying, “I have time.”
I was reminded of this yesterday. A client needed to reschedule our morning session, leaving me with an unexpected chunk of free time. I decided to head over to Costco and stock up. It was a delightful trip, saturated in the joy of not having to hurry. I lingered over the aisles, tasted a few samples (I love this about Costco!) and then headed up to the front to pay. I pulled myself into a short line and prepared to quickly check out and get my $0.63 soda on my way to the car.
As it turns out, I got behind someone with a complicated situation and the line came to a standstill. I cannot be certain, but it seemed to have something to do with wanting to use a special kind of coupon and separating the order into pieces. Instinctively, I felt my pulse rise. I started looking around to find a shorter line, trying to figure out how to avoid this wait and check out faster.
Then… I suddenly stopped. I realized that I didn’t need to find a quicker line. If this task took me five or ten minutes longer than anticipated, I would still be fine. While normally I would be dashing to get through the line so that I could make an appointment or start on the next task, today it didn’t really matter. Today, I had time. This thought was both calming and empowering.
Being in a hurry is stressful. Rushing around can make us short-tempered and anxious. Have you ever been trying to get something done when a child or colleague interrupts you? At best, you may be tempted to ignore him/her or give a cursory response. At worst, you may snap back in frustration. Neither reaction comes from a position of strength, and neither leaves us feeling confident or successful.
Rushing can turn us into people we don’t want to be. I once heard this quote:
I might add that hurry is incompatible with many desirable aspects of life, such as creativity, reflection, attentiveness, relaxation, spontaneity and generosity.
Admittedly, we can’t easily alter the list of things we need to do. Some days we simply won’t have sufficient time to complete our list at a leisurely pace. Still, it is important to be aware of the cost of “overbooking.” Just as it is important to think about where you will store a physical item before buying it, so it is critical to honestly consider the time required before taking on a new commitment. Generally speaking, estimate the time you anticipate needing to dedicate to a new activity, and then double it. This will accommodate for travel to and fro, learning curve adjustments and unexpected demands.
Time management comes down to priority management, and we are the gatekeepers of our own schedules. Others may make demands on our time, but ultimately it is up to us to assertively guard our time and reserve it for those pursuits that matter most.
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Do you think hurry and love are incompatible? How often do you say, “I have time?”