I’m in no hurry: the sun and the moon aren’t, either. ~Alberto Caeiro
Extreme time-urgency is not a good thing.
If you are excessively time oriented, you might be at a greater risk to suffer from health deterioration, not to mention that you can never be at peace.
In this article we’ll see how you can chose never to hurry, but still manage to get things done.
…it might be a contradiction at first sight.
After all, everything around us is in a state of constant rush. How can you be calm and not busy, and at the same time still productive and active?
Before answering that, let me share some things about myself.
In the past, I was often trying to show other people how busy I was.
I wanted to make sure everyone knew that I was working on so many projects. (Multitasking, right!)
Because to my mind, having an insane schedule and many duties meant being important and successful.
You see, I’ve been trained to think that busy is good.
Everything around me was telling me to strive for more, to constantly reach for another thing.
As a result I was hyperactive:
– I analyzed everything,
– I judged,
– I wanted to control everything,
– I was constantly worried what might happen next.
It took me a lot of time to finally stop and think what I really wanted from my life.
What if in this Hurry Sickness doesn’t allow me to live my life in the first place?
We may have a great output, we may achieve a lot, but the problem is our future oriented mindset. It may be good for entrepreneurship, but it is certainly not good for you.
Because if you trade the present moment for some future fantasy, you won’t ever be satisfied…
…as there will be always some pieces missing to complete the picture.
There’s No Happiness in the Future, Only Here and Now!
At that point I came to the realization that maybe I was playing the wrong game.
The other side of my problem was the ever present irritating little voice in my head trying to convince me that I always have to hurry because
- a) there is no way I could ever get enough done and
- b) that there is never enough time.
You too might’ve experienced this.
This is a painful urge that instead of focusing on the present task makes you think what your next task is…
…or forces you to do multitasking from morning till the end of the day.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
After years of chasing I finally decided to change everything and get into a slow-motion mode. It wasn’t easy, and I’m still struggling. But I;m firm in my decision, and things are already looking good.
When you get rid of this speed mania, you can enjoy your life. And still manage to get things done.
Change Your Mindset
First thing you need to understand is that moving at a relaxed, slow pace makes your life way better.
I promise you…
… if you can just change this one principle, your life will be transformed as if by magic.
Think about it.
Do you enjoy more reading a book taking your time or by speed reading it?
Does your food taste better when you stuff it down your mouth, or when you take time to actually enjoy it?
Life is a gift. Savor it, appreciate it… and in order to do so, you need to slow down.
Change your mindset!
If you’ve always had a rushed mindset, change it.
Make a firm decision that from now on, you will have a slow paced mindset with two key principles:
- life is great when savored
- work is great when focused
If you change your mindset, slowly but surely, you will find yourself on the path of creating a rewarding and satisfying life, free in its foundation.
If you are ready to take control of your life and slow down, here are some tips:
Tips for Slowing Down
Use some or all of the following tips to make changes in your life that will reinforce your decision to slow down:
Do fewer tasks. Eliminate the projects that are not essential. Focus on quality, rather than quantity.
Work on the important tasks first. In the morning work on the important tasks first. Let the end of the day be reserved for less important projects or routine tasks.
Cut back on meetings. They just eat into your time, and, let’s face it… you don’t have unlimited time. Not to mention, meetings feed your rush, forcing you to go from one meeting to another.
Sit there and do nothing. This is a great exercise. It can help you a great deal. In fact, it can be so effective that everyone should be doing it.
Everyone should learn the art of being.
“Being” can be defined as a simple state of consciousness. You can activate this state by sitting down and doing nothing.
I can’t give you any instructions. It is that simple. Just sit there and do nothing. Same thing for example if you are standing in a line.
Either way, spend some time observing your thoughts, or just sink into your chair, listen to music without interruptions. You can even take a stroll without any particular destination in mind.
These are just a couple of ways for cultivating being. You can probably think of a couple of additional ways that are more appropriate for your situation.
Don’t be impatient. Don’t check your phone. Don’t think about the past. Don’t plan the future. Just look around, observe, listen.
As an article from “The Guardian” so nicely explains it, doing nothing isn’t actually doing nothing. It can boost your creativity, give your brain some downtime, and you may regain control over your attention: When your practice the art of being, you can be sure to find your natural pace once again.
Which brings me to the next tip:
Disconnect your gadgets. Set a time during the day to disconnect your phone, TV, social media, email announcements, and anything else.
Go for a walk, meditate, spend some time with the people you love, or just read a book. Whatever you choose to do, do it slowly and enjoy it.
This tip should be no brainer, but if you are still wondering how, here is a nice write-up from thebridgemaker.com:
Get rid of the commitments. While you think they should improve your life, too many commitments can in fact ruin the quality of your life. So eliminate the ones that are not necessary.
Do you have too many hobbies or classes? Is your social life busy? Slowly do away with commitments that are not essential. Leave only the important ones.
Practice meditation. Nothing can slow you down like meditation. It can show you how to appreciate living in the present. It can teach you how to be fully present with whatever you do.
Check the next chapter where I describe a form of meditation called “Mindfulness”.
Eat at a slower pace. Become a slow eater, which means being mindful while eating. Which means sitting at a table, not standing or walking.
Serve smaller portions, and chew. Take small bites and chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
And make small breaks by putting your fork down every once in a while. It makes you relax and chew your food instead of shoving it down your throat. Summer Tomato has some tips on how to become a slow eater:
Mindfulness for Slowing Down
The practice of mindfulness is a great meditation for slowing down. Here’s how I do it:
Stop whatever it is you are doing and concentrate on your breath. While you do that, pay attention to the sensations in your physical body.
Don’t interfere, judge, alter, or do anything with those sensations.
If a thought comes (and it will, no question about it), release it and bring back your focus on the breath.
New thoughts will come, and you will have to repeat the process all over again.
At one point, you will see (or feel, or sense) how the doors to the present moment of your own being start to open.
You can’t miss this moment because you will feel unusually alive, alert and energized. Congratulations! You’ve discovered the state of “mindfulness”.
If you are bored at the idea of performing mindfulness practice by sitting down and doing nothing, know that meditation is precisely what you should do.
Because, once you taste the incredible beauty of the present moment, you won’t forget it. Ever.
If you are a beginner or if you need additional help, check this post, or start from this video introduction of mindfulness:
Here is a simple infographic that summarizes the main points in this article.
Click here to download a free PFD version of the above image! No registration required.
The Bottom Line
Rushing takes from your health, your focus, your satisfaction, your calm, and ultimately from the joy of the present moment.
Rushing deteriorates the quality of your life.
Not to mention that by being in a constant hurry you may…
- … hurt other people…
- … or cause accidents…
- … or make stupid errors.
And probably the greatest error you are making is not being in the here and now.
Life is so much better if you are not in a hurry. Don’t waste the precious moments you’ve been given by always rushing through your life.
You can live only in the present moment, and if you don’t slow down, you’ll lose it.
Why don’t be grateful for the beautiful sunrise instead of worrying that you might miss your morning coffee?
Why don’t be grateful for the fine drops of rain, instead of wondering if you have your umbrella near by?
Why don’t appreciate the incredible body you have been given instead of trying to find its flaws?
Once you’ve experienced the attraction of the present moment, slowing down and living in the “here and now” will become your priority.
Eventually, your life will become a string of mutually joined present moments, something that leads to a fabulous, totally new states of consciousness.
When that happens, you are firmly on the path of spirituality, are given numerous insight, and ultimately – enlightenment. But that’s another story entirely.