Why am I always rushing?

Why am I always rushing

I’m planned, well organised, know what I want to achieve – but why do I often feel like I am rushing? Rushing to make it to pick up one of the kids from training or getting to a meeting only just on time or just from task to task on my to do list.

While I will talk more about it a post later this week, having one thing, one solid goal to focus on has been fantastic in so many ways. In this instance it has been making me assess why indeed am I rushing out the door to make it to the post office on time or make my exercise class.

My assessment didn’t come up with excuses or lack of time. What it came up with a key list of things I am doing wrong and that I am now working on fixing. Here they are!

Doing just one more thing

Problem:
I will be ready for my meeting. Have my notes, have my work bag packed and it is 30 minutes until I need to leave. That is so much time I think to myself, I can now hang out the washing, start dinner, write a blog post……… insert many and various activities here. I have this innate drive to complete tasks, so I will push it to the last minute possible, even going over a minute or two so I can finish whatever task it is I started before I leave.

The satisfaction of completing the task however only lasts a short time as I scramble to pick up everything I need and rush out the door to make sure I am not not late.

Solution
Once I have myself ready, if I have 30 minutes or less to spare, I am not going to start any tasks that I cannot leave unfinished. If I have 15 minutes or less I will read and not start any new tasks.

Using the best case scenario

As my navigation skills are not great, I generally leave plenty of time for travel and getting a little bit confused on the way to somewhere new. For places that I am familiar with though, I can get a bit complacent.
Problem:
When I am very focused on a particular task and I have to leave the house to go somewhere, I will keep working until I have the bare minimum of time to travel to the planned location. Often I will work off how long it may have taken me to get there a previous time. That previous time however most likely was a best case scenario. It didn’t factor in getting stuck behind a tram, having to wait at the boom gates or roadworks or the like.

Solution
Leaving it so I only have the bare minimum time adds so much extra unnecessary pressure to me and feeling of rushing. I have started building in extra time to known journeys to remove that rushed feeling. It takes me 10 minutes in the car to get to the gym, I will leave 15 minutes before instead.

Underestimating how long things will take

Problem:
For some posts that I write from my own personal experience, I can complete the post, including selecting and editing photos in about 30-45 minutes. For a post however that requires research, step by step photos or I have difficulty writing it can take me anywhere from 60-120 minutes. But too often when I write up my work plan for the day, I will take the lower estimate for how long it will take me to write the post. And it is similar for some housework tasks too. I will underestimate how long they will take me to do.

I will set myself a plan with items to do before I pick up the kids or head to a meeting and then will end up rushing because the tasks took me longer than I thought.

Solution
I have been using some online tools to help me work out exactly how long everything is taking me for work and it is proving to be super useful. I am being more realistic now, putting times that I know it will take, rather than listing the optimal amount of time the task could possibly (or I want it to) take me to do. This has meant that I have had to frequently rethink my priorities and work out what tasks I will not complete because I won’t have time. But the pay off is I then move to the next stage not feeling so rushed.

Letting myself become distracted

Problem:
I have things I have to do before I go out, for example make a salad for the BBQ we are going to head to. While searching for a fantastic recipe I know I pinned recently, I end up spending 15 minutes distracted from the task at hand online.

I will set myself a plan with items to do before I pick up the kids or head to a meeting and then will end up rushing because the tasks took me longer than I thought.

Solution
I am being realistic. Putting times that I know it will take and adding a little buffer, rather than listing the optimal amount of time the task could possibly take me to do. This has meant that I have had to rethink my priorities and work out what tasks I will not complete because I won’t have time.

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The most important thing I have learnt from working out why I get myself to rushing point, is that I actually have full control over it. Too often I have created time pressures for myself by the above or other reasons. I am now starting to put tasks and other requirements of me into better perspective.

Not everything is urgent and most likely the world won’t fall apart if I don’t do something immediately (or ever!). I am learning to change my thinking. Not allowing myself to feel the weight of every possible task I could complete in the next year weigh me down and create that feeling that I need to rush through tasks.

Some days I am doing better at this than others, but I am getting better. And I quite often I feel relieved by re-sorting my thoughts and then priorities, realising that certain things just don’t need to happen. The relief takes away the rushing feeling wish is much more conducive to me achieving my goal for this year of being a planned, patient and present mother to my beautiful kids.

What about you? Do you find you create time pressures for yourself and end up rushing?

Comments

  1. Gervy says

    Another fantastic post Nicole. This one spoke very directly to me! My first child has just started school and I am DETERMINED to be on time for drop-offs in the morning (we were late most of the time for kinder). I make all the strategic errors you’ve described above and am working on implementing the same solutions. I feel like I am a relatively disciplined and organised person and it doesn’t sit well with me to not be on top of punctuality at this point in my life!

  2. Claire says

    Hi Nicole
    This is an awesome insight. I’d love to know the online tools you have used to help you manage your time please.
    Cheers, Claire

    • says

      I will write about them on the blog shortly. I like to try things out for a reasonable length of time before I share them so I can see if it is something that I will stick to.

  3. Stacey says

    I am never late for other people/events/school. And at work I am so efficient! But at home (where the people are most important to me….), I get so distracted then everything is rush rush.

  4. Mel says

    Yes to all of these!
    I have improved on the last two somewhat, first two still a work in progress.
    I seem also to have an aversion to being really early for things because it seems a waste of time, which explains the allure of the first two issues!

  5. Emma D says

    You nailed it. It’s the same for me in the guise of being ‘efficient’ ie “I’ll just quickly do…”. I have ur ‘planned, patient, present’ pic as my screen saver and I was still rushing in to school this morn. More time-mngt self-evaluation reqd for me :)

  6. Kristen says

    I am actually trying to reverse this and convince myself that the world will not stop if I am not 5 minutes EARLY. I absolutely cannot stand being late (to the extend it’s a bit compulsive!) and I need to let it go a little!

  7. says

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for your email today about the kids going back to school it was a great reminder about how it can be hard for them and they get stressed too.
    I rush too and have to step back when I feel I am getting edgy. Sometimes it’s the pressure I put on myself rather than the pressure from others.
    Have a great weekend.
    Julie

  8. says

    Hello, it’s my pet hate… I think rushing is such an enemy to family life. When I start to feel that I am rushing everywhere, I know it’s time to take a hard look at myself and what I am doing. So often I am trying to be super efficient with things that really don’t matter.

    My fave is to be a wee bit early everywhere I go… let’s see how we go with that today, it aint’ easy when going places with the bairns.

  9. says

    OH my, this is SO true for my mother. My first year in high school, she made me late SO MANY TIMES. The humiliation and all that made me resolve ‘never’ to be like her! Sometimes, good things come from ‘bad’.

    I’m that person that’s fashionably early to parties now! I always make my 6.45am train, by being at the station by about 6.35am most mornings (today I cut it fine, I was only 6 minutes ‘early’!) I just hate the rushed feeling, and I hate being late, so I really try to put things in place to make sure I’m not. I get up at 5.30am, even though it doesn’t take me that time to shower, dress and eat, I leave enough time to do some level of ‘tidying up’ and taking out garbage, without being rushed. For after work commitments, I over estimate travel time, or set an earlier ‘start’ time than needed (ie I tell myself I MUST be at SES by 6.30pm even though the start time is 7pm).

    Can’t wait to hear about the online time tool you use though.

  10. Kerrie Smith says

    This is my biggest hate of stay at home motherhood! I love my kids, i love having all this time with them instead of being at the office, yet i spend my days feeling so rushed and stressed!! Trying to ‘get ahead’ in every spare minute, focusing more on my efficiency at lets face it menial jobs than focusing on being with my gorgeous toddlers. I’ll be back in the corporate chaos before i know it and will so regret this rushing and striving. Aware of it, hate it, feel powerless to stop myself!! Thanks for the tools and insights, will give them a go.