On hurrying, time, and relaxing

I mapped out my errands so that I could be home to greet some friends for lunch Sunday morning. But then I looked at my list and thought, "Hmmm, I should check to see what time the office supply store opens."

I had the office supply store first on my list, figuring I could always cut my workout short if I had to, but then I discovered that the office supply store didn't open until a half hour before I was to be home to meet our friends.

Clearly, that couldn't be my first stop.

So I rearranged my schedule, left the gym ten minutes before the store was to open (it's a five-minute drive). On my way, people were driving so slowly, and some were even stopping at places they didn't have stop signs.

I found myself irritated, which is unusual for me. I also think it was strange I was irritated, since (a) those things don't usually bother me and (b) the store wasn't even open yet.

It's then I figured out that I would rather hurry up and wait than wait and hurry up. "What's the difference?" I hear you ask. "That sounds commutative, kind of like addition."

The difference is, if I can't just do everything at a moderate pace and finish exactly at the time I want to finish, I would rather front-load the work and then get the chance to relax, than to relax and then be rushed at deadline.

In this case, I'd rather just get to the office supply store and be able to reset my brain before I walk in, and then get home in plenty of time to start making lunch as my friends arrive. The alternative was to be irritated and get there in a rush, not have my list straight in my head, and then rush home to greet everybody.

I feel this way about a lot of deadlines. Get the work done, then enjoy the time without a deadline looming over your head. And hey, if turning something in early means more work, by all means, finish something and hold onto it until your deadline. It's so much better than enjoying your time and then having to pound something out ahead of deadline.

Hurry up, and then enjoy the wait.

[photo credit]

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One Comment

  1. I think most of us are like that. My wife always says “we’ll get there” and that’s true, but she’s also someone who arrives at work 45 minutes early so she can decompress before the day starts. I like the decompress part best.
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