The biggest thing I have learnt in 2020 is to slow down and recognise when I am rushing and also question what I am doing and whether it brings happiness. Am I doing it because I think that’s what I am supposed to be doing?Katie Lowndes
I always remember my school reports saying that ‘Katie rushes too much’. I really don’t know when, why or how this started but as someone who works with DISC behaviour analysis, I know that my type is very action orientated and loves reaching goals which could possibly have something to do with it.
Are you someone that gets satisfaction out of crossing off an action item on a list with a bright yellow or pink highlighter? Scrunching up that post-it note and throwing it in the bin?
It’s almost like we were born with lists and have all been pre-programmed to check off these items. Apparently, these tasks are what we should be doing in our lives to be happy and successful. So here we are rushing through life ticking off the list of tasks that have been put upon us.
Crawl, walk, run, grow, learn, play sport, learn instrument and language, make friends, get a boyfriend/girlfriend, go to university, travel, get a job, get engaged, get married, buy a house, have children, get a bigger house, take holidays, buy more things like art or wine and upgrade your house or fashion, have another promotion or start a business, have grandchildren, coo over them, retire, downsize your house, play golf, do the gardening.
The biggest thing I have learnt in 2020 is to slow down and recognise when I am rushing and also question what I am doing and whether it brings happiness or I am I doing it because I think that’s what I am supposed to be doing….ticking off this pre-programmed list. When you stop and start observing yourself you really do learn a lot about yourself. Have you tried it?
Playing ‘Rushing Roulette’ to me is almost an addiction to the fight or flight system, a feeling that you need to be in this panic mode trying to get everything done and this means you are ‘busy’ and achieving.
However, when you really look you may find that you are actually doing lots of unnecessary tasks, putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and of course being in fight/flight mode for a long period of time. This is putting your body and mind under immense pressure which can lead to many different symptoms and diseases. We have a choice and we are in control of what we are doing so it’s ok to set boundaries with ourselves.
Speaking with friends and clients of late, I don’t think I am alone in this awakening. There really is no better time than now to think and observe what we are doing and question why?
Let’s be clear. I am not saying scrap the lists and as a coach I strongly believe in having a clear vision of where you want to be in life. I am just saying that now is a good time to really question what you are doing, and does it bring you joy? The body pretty much tells you straight away but if we often choose to ignore it. The text invitation that gives you a knot in the stomach for instance but you say yes anyway. Maybe there is something you do within your job that makes you feel really uncomfortable and doesn’t sit right but you don’t change it and just keep doing it. It could be the million meetings in a day where you find yourself running around stressed but don’t actually achieve anything. You can change that.
So, what can you do to check that you are not playing ‘Rushing Roulette’?
- Do you make time in your day to just be?
- Do you schedule breaks between meetings or tasks so that you have time to digest and reflect?
- Can you write down what annoys you or brings stress in your daily life? Now, try and think of a solution on how to change it.
- Where do you need to slow down in your life?
- When making decisions we often play out a whole movie of what’s going to happen, and it’s all made up in our head! It’s always a good idea to write everything down, include both scenarios with the positives and negatives of each. If the decision involves another person, ask them what is really going on in their head rather than assuming. You would be surprised!
- Remember you don’t need to plan out your whole life and you can change. For example, I don’t say I am going to live in Australia forever or England. I just know that I will live where I need to be depending on what’s happening in my life. Sometimes you don’t even need to make a decision. You can take things day by day and see what happens.
- Life is not a race and it doesn’t need to be as hard as we sometimes make it. Isn’t it supposed to be a pleasure? So, take the time to appreciate the small things. To savour your morning coffee or walk in the sun. Really enjoy your lunch rather than throwing it down your neck before moving on to your next task.
- Remember to ask yourself the question ‘does this bring me joy?’.
- Breathe. Are you breathing now? I just realised I was holding my breath as I wrote this. We often forget to breathe properly and it is so powerful. Slowly breath in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4, release for 4 and repeat 4 times. How do you feel now?
- When you see yourself getting stressed or rushing, what can you do to calm down? Think of a sentence you can say to yourself and maybe there is a tool to help you unwind. For example, I stop and have a bath, breathe and question why I am doing what I am doing. Sometimes you just need to stop and walk away.