When Slow Is Fast

By Thursday, August 29, 2013 12 0

Like many people, I have lots to do. And I love to get a lot done.  

So I tend to rush. Which often,  just slows me down.

For example, it takes me forever to get dressed in the morning when I’ve done a hurried, harum-skarum job of putting my clothes away for the past month.

I can’t convince my husband of my new idea when I’m rushing him to accept it, instead of slowing down and listening to his concerns about it.

And I can’t find that crucial email when I’ve been rushing through my inbox for a week, failing to file priority items in the folders where I can later find them.

I’m only “efficient” when I’ve invested time beforehand in culling and ordering my clothes and my inbox, and making my husband’s thoughts and feelings as important as my own.

It’s when I’ve slowed down enough to create order and to be kind that I am then able to go fast.

And the only reason I need to go fast is to have more time for the things that really matter. Things like the people I love, spending time in nature, and doing work that makes a difference. Including writing Diamond-Cut Life.

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  • Nancy Brandt
    October 21, 2013

    I tend to get angry when I hurry because everything is harder to do quickly. Sometimes I can’t believe that I have to rush to get to work (a little early) since I don’t have to be there until noon. I have a lot of “home work” to do all morning, like prepping my family’s supper, walking my son’s dog, bookkeeping, house and yard work, etc.

    My goal is that no matter what I am doing I could be aware of the holy spirit’s presence with me (at least once a minute would be great), because then, no matter what I’m doing, it’s like heaven on earth. I lived two weeks like that one time and it was awesome. (See book PRACTICING HIS PRESENCE, if interested.) Honestly, living any other way is hardly like living once you’ve experienced God’s presence like that. I think it takes desire, practice, and also lots of grace from God. Since those 2 weeks, about 10 years ago, I’ve only had short moments of this “heaven”, but most of my life is me performing as an accomplishment machine. Not much fun.

    • Alison
      October 22, 2013

      Wow, Nancy. I love your bluntness: “Most of my life is me performing as an accomplishment machine. Not much fun.” I too feel the presence of Spirit at times, not nearly often enough. I try to cultivate mindfulness, and court Spirit, as you do. I agree that takes desire and practice. Being in nature lets me feel the closest to God. So, I try to be in nature steadily. Living near Mount Tabor park here in Portland is quite a godsend, for that reason.

  • Ami
    August 31, 2013

    I took a time management course where they said multitasking is a myth and humans can’t actually do it. They said we actually switchtask, and most brains can’t do that well, that to fine switchtasking easy is exceedingly rare. To illustrate, they had participants write our names on line 1 and the one number, in order, under each letter in our names on line 2 and time it, then time us again writing a letter then a number on the respective lines instead, like “a 1 m 2 i 3 s 4 m 5 i 6 t 7 h 8…”

    Try it. Even knowing step 2 ahead of time doesn’t cause good results for most people on the second task.

    Also, to grnpwrguy, I am inspired by your open mind. I am often described as too descriptive (irony, ha!) by those who want me to get to the point. It’s also often true that, later, that details I tried to offer turn out to be important to the other person, but the damage is already done by then. That is a setup for a lot of resentment on both sides in certain cases (me and my manager, for example.) I like that you were able to see that idea globally and I hope I can develop more understanding of it, too, with time and thought.

    • Alison
      September 1, 2013

      Ami, I agree. I’ve long felt that multitasking is just a manic myth that our culture is telling itself. Great comment.

      I tried to send you a personal email, but it bounced back. If you have a minute, would you please re-register as a commenter with your current email address?
      I love your perspective, and would like to occasionally seek it out.

      All my best, Alison

  • Jeri
    August 30, 2013

    I tend to be a fairly organized person, but there are times when that tendency means I spend too much time on getting my ducks in a row, and not enough on the things I really want to be doing. It’s a constant struggle, but a good one!

    • Alison
      September 1, 2013

      Jeri, I love the idea that a struggle can be a good one, truly worthwhile, and not just irritating.
      Thanks for encouraging me in my struggle between slow and fast.

  • Debra Yearwood
    August 30, 2013

    So smart. I was recently trying to rush my husband to agree with an idea of mine and had to stop and ask myself why I didn’t want to give him time to think. Now it just seems silly. It’s amazing how often I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and slow it down.

  • Mike
    August 30, 2013

    Great post, Alison. The debate between slow and/or fast in life. I debate and battle with myself on that all of the time. The part of not being able to find “THAT” email really struck me. As I’ve had that happen to me so many times and it drives me bonkers! :)

  • Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)
    August 29, 2013

    I’m not the neatest, most organized person in the world (in my neighborhood? in our apartment building? OK, in our apartment). However, like you, I often find that whenever I have to accomplish an important complex task, I first have to create order. I think I need to stop working until I drop and can’t sit at my desk another second. It would be more productive in the long run for me to stop while I still have the psychic and physical energy to clear and organize my work space, review my “to do” list and plan what I want to accomplish at my next work session. BTW, I have known this for a long time. Doing it seems to be a totally different story

  • grnpwrguy
    August 29, 2013

    Wow, now I understand why my “get to the point” comments never end up helping the conversation.

  • Barbara
    August 29, 2013

    The Pennsylvania Dutch say, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” I’ve always found it to be very true!

  • Arleen
    August 29, 2013

    Allison- I can really relate. I am not an organized person and I don’t always put things back where they belong. It no longer bothers me. I just recently read that a messy desk shows that the person is creative. If I rush through something there are always things that fall through the cracks. I just set priorities like you they are my family.