Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Slow down to speed up

Sometimes we have to do what's counter-intuitive to increase our happiness and wellbeing. In my experience that certainly seems to be the case with urgent tasks and busy days.

When faced with a busy schedule or lots of fire-fighting tasks, my immediate and instinctive strategy is to go into panic mode and rush. Today I thought about why I do this - and realised that the very act of rushing makes me feel like I am accomplishing something, but of course this is not at all the case. Also there is a feeling of importance associated with being terribly busy.

In spite of my busy schedule today, I decided to relax and complete my tasks in a thorough and almost dignified way. I took time to get myself a cup of tea and thought about all the jobs I was doing as I was doing them rather than worrying about the next task or simply panicking about the sheer number of things I've still got to get done.

The result was quite amazing, not only did I achieve what I set out to do, but I felt calm and in control while doing it. In retrospect I feel like I lived my day more and I didn't make any of the mistakes I commonly make on panic days like putting marked-up documents as attachments on email or forgetting my contract file for a meeting.

I can't pretend that I'll have this kind of self control on all rush days, but today has certainly shown me that things can be done differently and better if I slow down.

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