How to Rush Less

 In Career Change, Leadership

Going fast, being in constant motion and performing multiple tasks simultaneously is the “new normal” for our busy work/life culture. We rationalize moving at warp-speed is because it’s more efficient and because our endless responsibilities demand it of us.

But does moving so fast really improve efficiency in the end?

Actually, doing things in a hurry increases your chances of making a mistake, which can cost more time in the end. Hurrying a task or multitasking may result in an error that could even cost you your job or an important relationship. I once consulted for a company where the payroll manager accidentally attached the wrong spreadsheet on a company-wide email, opening revealing the salaries of the company executives. She lost her job after eleven years of near-perfect service, all because she was in a rush and made a simple mistake that anyone could have made.

Have you ever ripped-on a co-worker or family member in an email to someone else and then inadvertently hit “reply all” instead of forwarding it to your intended recipient? Or forwarded an email containing confidential content because you were too busy to read the chain all the way down? How about missing a glaring typo on an important document? If you think about it, we usually make these types of mistakes trying to save ourselves one or two minutes and end up costing ourselves so much more.

In the future, it might be helpful to imagine a spectrum with two extremes: one end has you being in a blue streak of hurried activity, checking nothing; and the other end of the spectrum has you being overly cautious, triple and quadruple-checking everything you do. Somewhere in the middle of the continuum is a happy medium where you are thorough and you check your work and pay close attention to what you are doing, without being excessive about it.

The idea here is not to get yourself to slow down completely; just aim to make small improvements to your usual method of rushing. In your next task, try to move yourself a little bit closer to the middle of the continuum, and over time you will make fewer mistakes.

Coaching Assignment:

Do one thing at a time for one full HOUR and see how it feels.

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