Thank you for your patience this week. Not only did God rearrange our day, but my whole week has been a little different. I wrote a short update on Olivia, and am hoping to be back to normal blogging next week.
In our crazy, busy culture it often feels like we’re always in a hurry. This actually becomes a habit. There have been times when I have had nowhere to go, I know that the kids and I will be home all day with no commitments of any sort, and yet I still hurry them on from one thing to the next.
It’s not because we are in a hurry or we need to hurry. It’s simply because I am in the habit of hurrying.
I actually have trouble even walking slowly. Even if go to a park simply to take a leisurely walk, I still feel the need to walk quickly. I’m quite sure this comes from my college days when I had to move between classes very quickly. It’s a hard habit to kick. Really. It is. I sometimes have to say to myself out loud, “slooooowww doooowwwnnn.“ Sad, I know.
With little kids that can’t do things as quickly as I would often like, it can be easy to get frustrated at the slow pace. Come on, let’s get a move on here. It takes complete retraining of my brain to actually appreciate a slower pace of life.
We can also trick ourselves into thinking we are getting more done simply because we are hurrying. It’s purely psychological, but sometimes we look at people that have slower movements, and we automatically assume that are accomplishing less. In turn, we sometimes see the crazy, hectic, frantically busy people scurrying about always moving, can’t sit still, and assume they are accomplishing more.
People work differently, so we can’t say that one way makes us accomplish more. But be careful not to assume a certain amount of productiveness in yourself or in others simply by the appearance of fast-pace busyness.
5 things you can do today to stop hurrying and slow down
1. Eat slowly.
I used to eat slowly. Then I went to college. Then I had kids. Now, I gulp down meals faster than anybody and I really hate it. It isn’t healthy to eat quickly, and it certainly isn’t very enjoyable.
Recently I have made a conscious effort to eat slowly. Savoring a meal is much more enjoyable than simply gulping it down because we need to eat to live.
If you are a fast eater, it’s easiest to choose one meal a day to start eating slowly. Make a conscious choice to eat that meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a slower pace each day.
Lighting a candle, setting a nicer table, putting on calm music, putting cell phones out of reach are some ways that can help. Also, when you do have a kid-free meal (like on a date with your spouse!), don’t just eat slower, savor each bite. The whole experience is so much more fun and enjoyable when you actually take the time to appreciate it.
2. Pause between tasks.
Take a moment to appreciate how the kitchen looks after you just cleaned it. Enjoy your kids artwork before hurrying them up to clean the mess. Take a moment to look up at the sky and thank God for his creation after you hang clothes on the line. Sit a few minutes longer at the dinner table to chat before getting up to wash dishes. Enjoy cuddling your kids wrapped up in towels for a couple of extra minutes after their baths instead of rushing them to get their pajamas on.
It’s amazing how often I move from one thing to another without stopping to pause even for a brief moment.
3. Do nothing.
In an age of constant connectivity, it is hard to do nothing. We sit down on the couch and have to check our iphones for an update. We are fidgety and nervous if we go more than a few moments without doing something.
Intentionally doing nothing is very important to productivity and to the state of our mind. Reflect on something you’ve learned, meditate on God’s goodness to you, consciously think about how much you like (not just love) your kids.
Just stop and do nothing at least for a moment. Today.
4. Create margin.
Nothing makes you feel more hurried and rushed than always being tight for time. If you are constantly having to rush through getting ready in the morning, or getting out the door, you probably aren’t planning for enough margin in your time.
Leave time so that a stop to say “hi” to your neighbor doesn’t leave you running late for work. Leave some room for your kids to stop and pick up some rocks on the ground on their way to the car. Create enough margin that you don’t always have to be in a hurry.
5. Focus on one thing.
Moms, I know we are good at multi-tasking. We have to be. We can’t be moms of littles without being very good at managing multiple things at once. But stop and focus on something today.
A conversation with your toddler. A work of art from your preschooler. A conversation with your husband. A beautiful leaf color. A picture. A word of encouragement from someone. A phone call. A simple pleasure. A conversation.
I know you have a lot on your mind. But focus on something today. Intentionally make yourself zero in on one thing, putting all other thoughts and items out of your mind for the time being, and enjoy it.
Life is a beautiful thing, but so often we are too busy hurrying through it that we fail to live it.
How do you intentionally stop hurrying?