by Bryan Goodwin | Featured Contributor
Ever hear the phrase, “She’s running around like her hairs on fire”? Usually, that phrase is reserved for people who are trying to get 30 different tasks done all at the same time. They often take twice as long to get the projects done because they are rushing around.
Today’s society seems to be in a rush. They have to get from place “A” to place “B” and they needed to be there yesterday. We are in a rush and things are just not getting done.
It takes more time to do something in a rush.
Say you are running late and you are trying to get out the door. Junior is having a meltdown and bus just left. How long does it take you to get out of your driveway? The answer is around 2 twice as long as it should.
Why is that? Well, you have to keep running back in for your purse, then junior only has one shoe on, then junior didn’t grab his lunch, then you didn’t grab your lunch, then you can’t find the keys because they are still in the car door. Sound familiar?
It does for me. Every time I get frustrated and just want to get a project over with I miss so much and have to repeatedly go back and correct my mistakes and omissions and other blunders that the internet trolls love to feed off of.
Why rushing doesn’t work
Though there are people who like to try to brag and say that they can multitask. Sadly, we humans simply are not able to do more than one project at a time. Some people can shift from one task to another pretty quickly. The vast majority of people it takes about 30 minutes for our minds to shift from one project to another.
So when you start rushing you are not allowing your mind to fully engage in the next process. Because of that, you miss important details and steps that are needed to complete your projects. You have to then go back and undo the steps to add the missing bolt or reread and correct the mistakes you made.
Ways to keep from rushing
Breathe you live longer. That is a phrase I would say to my mom when I was a teenager. Then for some reason, she would smack me. Yet that bit of smart-aleck advice is actually very helpful. When you find yourself being rushed or frustrated do what is called a 5by5, or simply breath.
This is the act of stopping for 5 minutes and stepping 5 feet away from the project. This forces you to stop and breathe. It also gives you a new perspective. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and don’t see the missing piece to the puzzle. Try doing this even if it is your kid who has gone nuclear. It isn’t going to hurt them if you step back and reaccess the situation.
Take a few deep breaths while you are stepping away. This allows your mind to slow down and pick up the scene in a new light.
Focus on one item at a time.
Once you are done with stepping back chose only one thing to work on. Give yourself a time limit. There is a reason for this, and it is called Parkinson’s law.
work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
A good example of this is how much do you get done the day before you leave for vacation? My experience is a lot. You can finish 2 projects. Collate the presentation you boss is needing, and reach inbox zero and still have 2.5 hours left to twiddle your thumbs.
Why is that? Parkinson Law. You knew you only had a limited amount of time to get your “must do” list finished. So you took care of them. That time limit is what you were needing to focus. So say you are going to only work on the first project for 2 hours and then the second project for 1.5 hours. You will get more done in that time than you would have ever thought possible by doing two things at once.
So breathe don’t rush it. Your projects will get done. It takes twice as long to complete a rushed task than to complete it in a calm state. So deep breaths and pick only one task give it a time limit you will be less rushed and happier for it. If you want to finish in record time then take your time.