Taking your time can actually increase productivity and reduce stress

Consider this non-scientific scenario:

A third grade girl has to get through 10 math problems correctly before going out to play. She is eager to play so rushes through the problems, getting all of them wrong. Now, instead of enjoying the victory of hard work, she must start again. Now, frustrated, crying, she breaks down, unable to focus at all. Time wasted, time lost, and she is still unable to successfully complete the task.

And that’s just homework.

This is all too true in the workplace as well with our own tasks from time to time. I won’t even ask for an invisible show of hands of how many people out there have unnecessarily rushed through a task just to “get it done”.

We stress ourselves out so well! Why do we do this to ourselves? In the case of my nine year old, she has better things in mind such as going outside to play or trying to catch up on her favorite shows. In the case of grownups, perhaps we just dread the task and want it over or maybe it’s the end of the day and you’ve just had it.

Whether you better relate to the exasperated nine year old or the self-rushed worker, we all have a story. The question is : why do we keep creating more stress for ourselves than we need to?

The go go! of the modern American lifestyle is exhausting. We constantly have a never ending to-do list and are often thinking about the next thing before we even complete the first. It does feel fantastic to check off that box, afterall.

My solution is simple – slow down! Now, I’m not advocating for soldiering in the workplace or becoming less than efficient or effective, but just to take time to do things right the first time.

My unscientific theory is that if we all slow down to understand things and get them as close to right the first time as possible, we save time and $$$ in the long run. This, in turn, helps the worker to better comprehend the task thus furthering toward expertise and therefore his or her own career. Bonus : Less stress!

So, pursue greatness everyday, strive to get your to-do list fully checked, but for your own sake, take a deep breath and take your time to do the job well and right the first time.

Now, if I can just convince my nine year old about this wisdom…

That itching, nagging thought or idea

We all know we have that one ounce of extra something in us that could truly drive us to our personal limits. That itching, nagging thought or idea that just excites your mind, making your blood pump and your palms sweat, that idea that is going to change the world! (Imagine a guy with his white dress shirt top couple buttons unbuttoned, megaphone in hand exclaiming those last three words. That’s what I picture.)  So, why don’t more people have their success story? Why do so many people tell that itching, nagging thought or idea to just go away?

Could it be that really we’re afraid of becoming successful?  Could it be that although it is just such a great and respectable goal it would require us to change?

A new schedule.  New commute routes to learn. New contacts to create. Starting from the bottom yet again. These are scary and daunting truths about change,  at least in your career.

I bet if I asked for a show of hands in a random audience of who’s self-sabotaged an opportunity or experience because of the fear of change that the number of hands raised would far underrepresent the minds of those chewing on something they’d rather keep to themselves.

What if even one of those people could become inspired enough to take the plunge and answer that itching, nagging idea or thought? Maybe the answer to the plastic grocery bag problem? Or, perhaps the training to become the world’s happiest flight attendant and travel the world? Or even the response to a call for a theological life?

Do you have a story to share?  Was your hand raised or did you keep it to yourself? Did you listen to that itching, nagging thought or idea and have success? Or even a flop? (They say the journey is just as important as the destination.)

Be true to you

I know so many people are trying to get ahead in life, working towards that dream career, chugging along to become someone.  As an educator and self proclaimed nerd, I support everyone who is working towards making themselves better.

However,  be true to you.

So many people work hard to get in a career that will make the bucks, pay the bills,  and allow them to live a certain lifestyle. But at what cost?

Life is measured in so many ways, but the money we make is left behind when it’s time for our legacy to live for us.

This topic has been said and done before, but it is so real that it deserves yet another blog post. I love my job,  but it’ll never make me rich. I struggle internally with the two – richess in the bank or in my heart.

I choose my heart. And a difference I will make. Maybe even for you 🙂