Why It's OK to Slow Down

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get …

We have laughed at this old Deutsch saying. We know the feeling! But have you ever taken a hard look at the truth expressed here? It is absolutely on target. Hurrying usually does only get us further behind.

Still, the first thing we often do when faced with a packed schedule is to go to afterburners. To speed up. To rush. The result of this hurry? More times than not: miscalculations, misunderstandings, mistakes — putting us even more behind schedule. It has probably happened to you. Maybe this week. Maybe today.

Ready to try something better?

While it may seem a paradox, very often the best thing to do when things start galloping out of control is to slow down — to take a break. Not the usual “put your feet up and refresh” break, but a “take a deep breath and get your bearings” break.

Next time you are on the verge of getting frantic, rather than double-timing, take time to analyze the tasks at hand. Turn off that demanding inner voice telling you to hurry. Instead, set priorities. What can be delegated? Rescheduled? Simplified? Ignored altogether? Where can you turn for advice, instruction, help? Use your resources.

Develop your plan and follow it. Staying calm while keeping a steady, unhurried pace shows your professionalism. Just for fun, one church office created the Golden (Arches) Rule: No matter how busy we are, everyone leaves the office for lunch. 

Sometimes leaving the office may mean simply moving to the church kitchen. If you absolutely cannot leave the building, at least give yourself the benefit of switching gears mentally. Listen to music, meditate, read, check out favorite websites. A relaxed brain works better.

Allowing unexpected challenges to trigger stress and push your “hurry” button can become a habit that gets in the way of your effectiveness. Habits are tough to break, but you can dislodge self-destructive behaviors by first honestly admitting them, and then taking some deliberate steps to change.

Resist the urge to rush. Keep your own steady pace. Maintaining control — over yourself and your work — moves you forward. Just where you want to be.  

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Gayle Hilligoss
Since 1982, as founder of Success Systems and publisher of PROfile, Gayle has worked with thousands of church office staff. Now she brings her passion for excellence, along with her enthusiastic and informal style to Effective Church Communications.

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