While driving down the A69 I was reminded of what it's like to act out of pure frustration. We were in no particular hurry. Sure, we were looking forward to seeing my partners' family, but they weren't going anywhere. Yet as Lou drove along the mainly single carriageway road, she became increasingly frustrated by the car in front. It was probably only going 5-10mph slower than she would have liked, yet this had a disproportionate effect on her stress levels.
Each time she tried to overtake she was thwarted by an approaching bend or another car. Each missed 'opportunity' increased her frustration and cemented her determination to 'get the next one'. After ten miles or so, she eventually seized what could best be described as a 'half chance' and, several highway-code violations later, we were off. The lesson came just around the next corner - 'dual carriageway half a mile ahead'.
When we're in a hurry, we get sloppy and things go undone or, worse still, half-done. Our best intentions go out the window. Expediency and 'getting stuff done' leapfrog up the list above such old-fashioned priorities as treating people with respect, doing things right the first time, and even enjoying the process.
1. Become less efficient: While Parkinson's law ('Work expands to fill the time available for its completion') has never been repealed, sometimes allowing your work to expand is exactly what to do. Giving yourself more time than you need for a task is fantastic, and consciously use that extra time to do it better. When estimating the time for tasks, multiply the time by 1.5. Play with this ratio (up or down) - you'll find there's an optimal time that eliminates hurry without procrastination.
2. Just 'one' thing: If you're reading this while drinking a coffee, filing your nails and/or speaking on the phone, one of the most valuable experiments you will ever do is to spend a day doing only one thing at a time - and notice the difference. When you're reading, just read. When you're eating, just eat. When you're with someone, just be with them. Just because you 'can' do three things at once doesn't mean you should.
3. Do what you love and enjoy it: When you're doing what you love, you will tend to naturally engage in the other two strategies above. If you're not already doing what you love, choose any task and practice enjoying it more. Just as an experiment, do it as if it's the most wonderful and important thing in the world.
You'll always get another opportunity, so make sure your head's in the right place to enjoy your dual carriageway when you find it.
Ali Campbell is a life coach and NLP master