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Ask Yourself 3 Little Questions In a Specific
You'll Completely Change Your Life
That sounds like a bold claim doesn't it? But, it's
How do I know if I have "Hurry Sickness"?
I typically drive 10 or more miles/hour over the speed
I interrupt others and/or finish their sentences.
I get impatient in meetings when someone goes on a tangent.
I find it difficult to respect people who are chronically
I rush to be first in line, even when it doesn't matter (for
example, getting off an airplane first in order to stand at
Baggage Claim longer).
If I have to wait over a few minutes for service in a store
or restaurant, I get impatient and leave or demand service.
To me time is money!
I generally view as less capable those who may be slower to
speak act or decide. I admire people who move at my speedy
pace! I pride myself on my speed, efficiency, and
I view "hanging out" as a waste of time.
I pride myself on getting things done on time, and will
sacrifice the chance to improve a product if it means being
I often rush or hurry my children and/or spouse.
*You can find more on "Hurry Sickness" in the
Bantam book, Time Management For Unmanageable People by Ann
What is "Hurry Sickness?"
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!" Ever have
that overwhelming feeling of hopelessness? You go into work
earlier, determined to get caught up, only to get hit with a
deluge of crises, interruptions, and new projects. By the end of
the day, you've worked as hard as humanly possible. Yet you
marked nothing off your list while you added six big new
Sound familiar? Then you aren't alone because
most people are experiencing the influence of downsizing, the
acceleration brought about by new technology and the pressure to
get more done in less time with fewer people and fewer dollars.
But Hurry Sickness is more than just feeling
rushed and wanting to get off the "worry-go-round" of daily
obligations, the corporate rat race, or relief from pressure
Just as Pavlov's dogs learned to salivate
inappropriately, we have learned to hurry inappropriately. Our
sense of urgency is set off not by a real need to act quickly,
but through learned cues. Our 'bells' have become the watch, the
alarm clock the morning coffee, and the hundreds of
self-inflicted expectations that we build into our daily
routine. The subliminal message from the watch and the clock is:
time is running out; life is winding down; please hurry," says
Dr. Larry Dossey in his book, Space,
Time &Medicine. He
continues, "The perceptions of passing time that we observe from
our external clocks cause our internal clocks
to run faster ... [Hurry sickness then is] expressed as heart
disease, high blood pressure, or depression of our immune
function, leading to an increased susceptibility to infection
Another metaphor comes from the medical world,
called fibrillation. When your heart begins fibrillation (a
rapid beating), the blood is blocked rather than pumped through
it. In Hurry Sickness, you begin to rush without noticing that
you may be defeating your larger purpose. By rushing through a
meeting, for example, you may "end the meeting on time" but fail
to build the trust or gain the buy-in needed from all parties.
If you rush through a phone call, proud of your efficient use of
time, you may miss the hesitation in your client's voice, and
lose the sale as a result.
Most important of all, you may rush through your
life - be the youngest to become CEO, first to win the marathon,
and first to earn your million - only to realize that, in your
rush, you never quite had the time to enjoy your loved ones, or
all the special moments that make life worthwhile. When a grown
child tells you that you were never there for them, it can be
too late to go back. However, it's never too late to hear the
"wake-up call" of choosing to change and live life differently.
OK, so you've
made your point! But how do I change when all my life I've been
rewarded for rushing?
It's true. In school, you rushed to be first in
line. You were rewarded for good work by being first to go to
lunch. And the best student was described as being first in
his/her class. So you must do lots of unlearning if you are
serious about renewing your spirit, rediscovering your true
effectiveness and enriching the quality of your life, work,
purpose, and joy.
Here are some ways to begin:
As you plan each day and look ahead to the week, plan
windows of time to go off the clock.
Take off your watch for the evening or weekend.
Plan time to do nothing.
Enjoy day-dreaming, doodling, snoozing, or coasting.
When you evaluate your day, week or month, reward yourself
for creating a balance of doing AND being, accomplishing
work AND smelling the roses, being efficient AND being
Purposely plan silence into your life. Listen to your body,
your feelings, and your intuition. The inspiration of genius
rises out of silence.
Did you ever stop to notice the cars in the
"Indy 500" race? Of all the cars that begin that race each year,
less than half finishes the race! Not a great performance record
for the most expensive, best engineered, and most carefully
maintained cars with price tags of approximately $.5 million.
What is the single greatest factor leading to their failure?
They are driven at only one speed - and the faster the better!
If you have the courage to recognize your own
Hurry Sickness and choose to balance this compulsive life style
with a more nurturing and balanced blend of speeds (neutral, 1st
gear, 2nd gear, and even reverse), you will improve your health,
long-term effectiveness, and quality of life. You'll also become
a far better leader and a positive role model for those who
love, respect, and trust you.