My long time friend Glenna Salsbury recommended a book. I ordered it, and while it was a good book worthy of reading, the title powerfully impacted my life. It is called, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.
I wrote an article called Rise Early and Play Fast. On the surface, it appears that the elimination of hurry is the antithesis of my premise…but it isn’t.
Rising early and playing fast is about getting a head start on the day rather than letting valuable hours slip by. It is also about being intentional about the things you want to do each day to get the most out of the time you invest.
It is about speed and intention, not hurry and rush.
Last year a client asked me to record a brief video to promote my appearance at an upcoming meeting. I had a long to-do list that day and rushed to get the video shot. It wasn’t my best work, but I thought it was acceptable.
The client didn’t. They asked me to reshoot, and my first reaction was defensiveness. I didn’t want to make the time to do it again. But when my reasonable brain kicked in, I realized they were right. I reshot a much better video.
The problem with the first video is that I rushed it. Nobody does their best work when hurried and rush. Having a timeline that requires you to work fast is different. Fast is simply trimming out the waste but being committed to the process.
We mistakenly think that the more we hurry, the more we get done. Sometimes that is true, but often it isn’t. While we “finish” the task, the quality of the output and the enjoyment of the process is almost always diminished. Rushing creates stress which increases mistakes and sloppiness.
There may well be a few basic things that we can hurry to get done without any negative downside. Unfortunately we don’t always have or use that discernment, so we end up with hurry as a lifestyle. Years ago I saw a license plate: 2BZ. Cute but sad at the same time. Too busy for what? To have fun? Enjoy life? Do good work?
We control how busy we are. You might push back on that and say, “Not true, there is so much to get done!” That is true, but the antidote to hurry and too much busy includes focus, hard work and elimination of disruptions. While I can’t always explain it, I’ve found that by slowing down a little I can get as much or more done.
Hurry is rarely a plus in our lives, even if we try to convince ourselves it is. Thanks to the book with the same title, I’ve learned that the ruthless elimination of hurry makes your personal and professional life better. You can still rise early and play fast without the rush and hurry that taxes us and causes us to perform less well than we could.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com. He also teaches professional speakers and leaders how to increase their messaging and public speaking effectiveness. Learn more here.