Photo credit: Shao-Chun Wang/123rf.com
Wait a minute. Isn't it 'Time's running out -- hurry up'?
After all we pride ourselves on how fast we can do things and how much we can get done in a day. We have to, right? No time to waste, so much to do, and we'll never finish it all if we don't speed up. Lots of folks are counting on us, so we have to handle as much as we can, as fast as we can.
Yet while it's satisfying to rush around checking stuff off the list, getting projects done, cooking good meals, grabbing time for exercise, remembering to call Mom and on and on, there are costs to the Hurry Habit. Here are some painful prices I've paid:
- Stress that eventually leads to illness
- Insufficient attention to what I care most about
- Relationships wilting from lack of care and kindness
- Dreams languishing in the dust of the rush
I've achieved a great deal in my life, but most of it has happened in fast forward mode. After all this time, I've found a better way that is actually producing far better results while giving me a new sense of peace and well-being. Here's how it happened.
Six months ago sitting our hot tub, I was deeply discouraged and asking myself why yet another tragedy had happened to me. For the past year and a half, I'd been suffering severe back pain, couldn't sit longer than 10 minutes, and felt helpless because I could no longer do what I wanted and needed to do. Yet finally I had found a way to cure my ruptured disc without surgery and return to a pain-free life.
But now my knee had gone out, and I could no longer walk. I had to figure out why. I realized that there was a lesson I hadn't learned from my back pain, so I was being given another chance. But try as I might, I had no clue what it was.
Suddenly my mind stopped chattering, and I realized I needed to quit trying to figure it out. I became still, looked up and listened. Really listened. And then it came to me.
Time's running out -- slow down!
I took time to digest what I'd heard, then argued with it for a while, and finally chose to take it seriously. Since that time my mantra has been Slow down. Rushing to an appointment, afraid I'd be late, angry at the traffic, stuck at a red light, I'd remember. And I'd breathe, look up into the blue Colorado sky and enjoy the moment.
I've learned that hurrying doesn't help -- in fact, it actually slows me down. The faster I go, the longer it takes me to do things. Mistakes happen, I do stupid things, and I lose track of what I'm doing. Hurry up -- you have to get this article finished in the next hour only leads to worry, fear, and distraction. Try writing something sensible, let alone useful, in that state of mind.
So here are the key lessons I've learned about how to get more done by slowing down. I ask you to consider what I'm sharing and take a moment to think about how you're doing on each one on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
- Slow down inside. Speak to that impatient driver who's brought you this far and tell it to breathe. Reducing your speed doesn't mean getting less done; it means doing things more peacefully, happily and well. Trust yourself -- you know how you hate for others to push you, so stop doing it to yourself.
- Be present. Do what you're doing when you're doing it. Stop beating yourself up for what you're not doing, and pay attention to what you are doing. Increase your awareness of those messages about how much there is to do and how you're not going fast enough -- and let them go. Let the next moment take care of itself -- all is well.
- Be kinder to you. Appreciate you, how special you are, how much you have to give, and how much you've given already. Allow yourself more private pats on the back and avoid scoldings about what else you should be doing. Most importantly, increase your self respect by taking at least one step each day that brings you closer to your dreams. If you have a current Best Year Yet Plan, that's any action to progress your Top Ten Goals.
As a result of remembering these lessons I've come to believe deeply in my New Paradigm for this year: I'm so happy being who I am -- just as I am!
The difference these guidelines have made to me is indescribable. All I can say is that the stresses I listed at the beginning of this piece have disappeared, I'm achieving far more and doing it happily, and my relationships with my family and friends are much more enjoyable and far more loving.
And this experience is what I want most for you, friend. So while Liking and Sharing this article are much appreciated because you're spreading the word, what matters most is you putting these lessons into practice in your life. Please.
Be in touch with questions about how to slow down or share insights about what you've learned when you've done so. Either scroll to the bottom to the Comments section or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. To make your Best Year Yet® plan, you can also choose one of these options: