Sometimes it can feel like life is rushing on by so quickly that we cannot keep up, despite the fact that we always seem to be in a rush. This is one of the many paradoxes of life; the more we rush the more we seem to need to do, and the more we must hurry to finish it. The truth is there are always things that need to be done, and very often rushing around does not help the overall rate in which they are finished. The problem is, that the hurried mind is often so concerned with keeping up with everything, that it forgets to enjoy life at a natural pace.
It is important that we learn how not to hurry. We must slow down and change our pace so that it reflects a sustainable rate in which we can live; a pace that can keep on top of our commitments, but which also allows us to relax, and to take time to allow the more subtle elements of life to spill through. In a modern, fast- paced society, where the whole day seems to run by a busy schedule, we must learn for ourselves how to slow down, before we become nothing more than well oiled cogs in an ever-running machine.
In The Morning
The first tip I have for you, no matter what it is that you do for a living, is to take your time in the morning. Many of us have full and busy days ahead of us. We know this and sometimes we wake up as if we are already busy. This is extremely unhealthy, and sets a hurried tone for the rest of the day. Instead we should enjoy the morning as a time for waking up, stretching, yawning and gathering our thoughts. Even it is means getting up a little earlier we should make sure we have enough time in the morning to settle into the day at a willing, voluntary pace.
During Activity or Work
Many people’s everyday life involves some manner of progress, whether it be a job or career, the development of a skill, some housework, homework, school, university, looking for a job. Whatever our tasks for the day might be, we have to learn to develop a relaxed focus that allows us to do them efficiently, without being in a hurry.
It may seem like rushing is the best way to get everything done, but in reality relaxed focus is much more sustainable, efficient, and less prone to error. The quality of our work is at its highest when we are settled into the task at hand, not when we are thinking about getting it finished. The efficiency of our work is also optimal when we show relaxed focus; we can calmly make correct decisions, and create and design with accuracy. It might help to focus less on what time it is, and what the clock is telling you should be done. Contrary to the popular belief that a diary and an accurate watch are the best ways to stay on top, I believe it may be best to forget about it, to help find your natural pace.
Some of the most fascinating and successful people I have ever met are never in a rush, but are always on time. They achieve this through an unbreakable relaxed focus. Stay in the moment of the activity you are engaged with, and try to enjoy it for what it is, instead of always thinking about the end product. This touches on the concept of “mindfulness,” which aims to train the mind to be present in the body, and in the moment. When successful, the practitioner seems to effortlessly excel without the need to rush.
Learn To Relax
The work environment, through it’s constant pressures and deadlines, is perhaps the most challenging place to try not to hurry. Many workplaces run by the clock, and tell employees to work faster and faster, throwing them off their natural rhythms. It is therefore very useful to be able to switch off outside of work, in your own spare time. All too often people have a tendency to carry their rushed work mind over into their spare time, when it is no longer necessary.
Try to use time off to relax instead of jam packing it with yet more activities, and a busy schedule that demands a hurry. Time off should be spent resting, and relaxing with friends and family every now and again. It can be tempting to neglect these aspects of life when we are feeling rushed, but spending our spare time on really enjoying life, is a sure way to help us unwind, and slow down the pace.
The finer things in life can help with this, and they don’t have to be expensive, or take all night. One way in which many families and housemates relax together is during meal times; a time to unwind and forget about other commitments for a while. I am not usually massively traditional but I fully advocate mealtimes being spent in this way. Pleasure should never be rushed. Food, wine, sex and love, conversation, art, literature. These are some of the good things in life for me, and we learn to savior them to pull us out of our constantly rushed mindstate.
Remove Unnecessary Commitments
Sometimes the environment makes us busy, but sometimes we make the environment busy. Our inability to switch off, and our love of the busy schedule, cause us to pack our lives with activities and commitments that might not be good for us, and that we might not comfortably be able to take on. When we take on too much we create a situation for ourselves that causes us great stress and unhappiness, and we start to delude ourselves into thinking that this is what we want, and that being hurried is the perfect mindstate.
I recommend removing any unnecessary commitments from your life. So what constitutes unnecessary? Well, start with what you don’t enjoy, what is not needed financially, and what causes too much stress with not enough reward.
Another tip is to turn off mobiles, and disconnect from the internet for some time every day, to tell the mind that work is over, and to shun the perceived commitment of constant connectivity.
Learn To Be
We always seem to be concerned with doing in our society, and have failed to recognize the immense values of being. Being is just as enjoyable as doing, and just as necessary in the forming of balanced, well-rounded individuals. One of the best ways to not hurry is to place value on being. Being is a simple state of consciousness, which can be activated simply by sitting down. Spend some time just mulling thoughts, being comfortable, sinking into a chair, taking a stroll with no particular destination, listening to a full album with no interruptions. These are all ways to cultivate being, and when practiced they are sure to help you find a natural pace again.