Are you often running late, even if it’s only by a couple minutes? Do you often feel hurried or like you’re rushing to get ready at the last minute? I used to be this way….until I stopped doing “one last thing.” I would be ready to leave the house, but it would be too early to leave so I’d do one more thing to fill up that extra time. Then before you knew it, I was rushing to get there and I would be late. Me…late! And I didn’t like how that felt — the rushing, the stress, the frenzy (even if only in my mind), the impatience when driving and then apologizing to people and really, knowing I wasn’t valuing their time. And I didn’t mean to! I’m not a late person. But I was trying to be efficient and pack more into my time which ended up doing all the wrong things for me. I didn’t feel better, I wasn’t more productive. Maybe it felt good to get the laundry started or write a quick email and check something else off the list, but that benefit never outweighed all the ick it caused. I lost more than I gained. The same would go for other things around the house. If I have planned to start getting ready at 7.30 so I can be on-time. But then I do one more email, fold the clothes, etc. and then it’s 7.40 and I’m already behind.
So I stopped doing “one last thing” and I sit. I think. I leave early so I can be more leisurely instead of rushed. And with the advent of the smartphone, I can send a quick email or return a call when I get there. Or I can read when I’m early. I use my extra time as a gift of time to do something that makes me happy instead of the stress of rushing. Extra time, down time and space are all good things so let some into your life and be okay with it. It’s like we’ve told ourselves that we’re not allowed to just sit there. That it’s bad if we’re not always busy. But it is a good thing to have that extra time. You can relax and restore, take a much needed break and feel creative all in a small pocket of time.
It isn’t always easy and it isn’t permanent as I have to keep working at it. If I start to feel like doing one more thing, I tell myself, “Stop. You can do this later.” I feel so much better when I stick to the plan and I look at being early, ahead of schedule or extra time as a reward. So are you always a few minutes late or feel rushed? Can you stop doing “one last thing?”