Rethinking fast

May 1, 2012

I’ve been noticing lately how fast I think I should complete things. In my mind, I imagine how long a task or project will take — and it’s not pretty.

So I’ve developed a new rule: double it.

If you think that doing social media should take you 20 minutes a day, double it. If you think that clearing your desk should take an hour, double it. If you think finishing your taxes will take a few more days, give it a week.

A recent example:

Dear Jen,

If you think it will take 15 minutes to get to downtown Salem, give yourself 30. The journey will be song-filled, not curse-filled. You will bless the person who vacates a parking spot instead of ranting about the lack of them. You’ll arrive at your destination calmer and happier and ready to enjoy your day. Double the time. Make a note.

Love, your wiser self

If you want to reclaim your sanity, pull back on your expectations. Every time you say (through gritted teeth) ” This shouldn’t be taking so long”, you just make yourself crazy. It’s a lie — it *does* take that long. Take a breath. Make peace with it. This is how long it takes.

My suggestion? Try doubling your guess and see how your sanity improves. Let me know how it goes!


  1. This advice would also be good to apply to learning new things. I know I want to learn new things (like in my case, machine knitting) and be doing them at a pretty decent level of mastery right from the beginning, but I have to put in the time to learn, and I bet I need to double my idea about how long that will take.

  2. Ahhhhh, adding spaciousness. Not only do I try to follow the “double-it” rule, but I add shoulders of time between tasks. Because I never know when the unexpected will choose to happen (internet down, computer needs a reboot, car won’t start…). All I know is that it will happen.

    Love the image of song-filled, not curse-filled.

    Thanks, gorgeous!

    Love and light,

  3. What a wonderful and simple piece of advice. I also heartily agree with commenter Darcy. Learning new things often takes longer than we think, and we only get really frustrated when we think we *should* be progressing faster.
    Kathy´s last blog post ..Sampling San Francisco

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