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!

3 comments

  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,
    Sue

  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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