No Hurries, Fewer Worries
I’m in a hurry. I have to get this written because after that I have much more to do. Plus, I’m running behind. In fact, I’m always running behind and I’m usually in a hurry, too. It’s OK, so is everyone else. What’s the big deal?
I’ll tell you what the big deal is: Hurrying is detrimental to your health. In fact, there is something now dubbed Hurry Sickness, where people hurry out of the mere habit of hurrying. In addition, they demand the people around them to hurry, too, including their children, spouses, elderly parents, co-workers and cashiers. The problem is that all this unnecessary hurrying manifests itself in the form of heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety/panic and depression of immune function, which can lead to cancer. In other words, we are literally hurrying ourselves to the grave.
Our quote page this month (pg. 60) features this quote by Lily Tomlin: “For fast acting relief, try slowing down.” Another one of my favorites, which we ran years ago, is by Ghandi: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Both of these serve to remind us to slow down...it may just be the key to enjoying life more.
It’s definitely the key to getting more out of life. You see, the faster you go, the more you miss. To illustrate what I mean, think of riding in a car. The faster you go, the more blurry the scenery is, to the point where it all blends together and you have no idea what you’re passing—or what you’re missing. That’s exactly what hurrying does—blends everything together. So, at the end of the day, when you finally fall into bed, you have nothing of clarity or quality on which to hang your memories.
Living a life defined by stringent deadlines, I found myself constantly hurried and always feeling overburdened. I decided I hated living like that. It was a scurry here and scurry there life. Rats scurry; I do not. When I finally had enough—we don’t change until it’s too painful to stay the same—I made a conscious decision to slow down, smell the flowers, see and hear the birds, walk the beach, put effort into myself, eat right, spend time with people I enjoy and truly live instead of exist. Here are a few things I discovered that help:
Don’t overbook yourself. If you know you need four hours of office time each day, then don’t book meetings that would creep into that time. It’s the same whether you’re managing a business or a home, only book what doesn’t interfere in time you need otherwise.
Be willing to miss out occasionally. Not overbooking yourself requires making hard decisions. You may be asked to fill in at Bridge or tennis, but don’t do it if it will make your day too hectic. Or, if you say yes, figure out what needs to give and what the ramifications will be by putting it off. Don’t be overly rigid, but get real about what you can and can’t accomplish in a given time. On the flip side, teach your children that they can’t do it all, either. They need to understand that you have a life, as well, and they need to make choices about what they can do and what they will have to miss out on. Overbooked kids are stressed out anyway. Often they are seeking boundaries and actually wanting to be told no.
Plan ahead. Planning ahead is a surefire sure way to prevent the Hurry Sickness. Planning is the best prevention of procrastination, which is probably the number one cause of hurrying. Planning ahead provides solid direction of what needs to be done. That alone can get you going in the morning because you won’t feel overwhelmed wondering what to do.
Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. Trying to do more than one thing at a time is the best way to waste time and sacrifice quality. This is where prioritizing becomes important. Work through your to-do list in order of urgency, importance, due dates and deadlines.
Schedule in daily chores. Schedule in daily activities that are important to you. For example, my daily workout is imperative. I actually put it on my calendar so when I am scheduling other things I see those timeslots are unavailable. This system ensures that if something does interfere, a conscious decision is made to allow it.
Ask for help. Women are notorious for having too much to do and never asking for help. Sharpen your delegating skills. The children can switch the laundry and empty the dishwasher. Your husband can stop at the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions. There are people everywhere who you allow to pile on you what they can do themselves. This is an easy one. Hey Superwoman, allow others to accomplish tasks, too. That way you can feel super instead of overburdened.
Avoid distractions. If you already have a booked day, don’t casually drop by Barnes and Noble or Belk to browse. This is procrastination, avoidance, whatever you want to call it. Try hard to stay focused and get what needs to be done first. Who knows, you may finish sooner than expected and gain actual free time—guilt free! When is the last time that happened?
Cut things out of your life that do not bring you joy. If you’re a member of an organization you no longer enjoy, resign. If you are spending time doing something that no longer floats your boat, stop doing it. For me it was television. I spent several hours each night watching crap I didn’t care about. I stopped and it freed up time to do things I actually want to do.
Rushing around means you are missing what’s right here, right now. With the above ideas in place, I can feel you already slowing down. It’s been said that if you just slow down, everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. Now take a deep breath and imagine if one of those things is peace.