Time. It is one of our most valuable resources, and, for most, there is a perceived lack. In an effort to falsely gain time during the day, we rush through tasks, projects, and our lives. By doing so, we lose our focus and clarity for success. Goals blur. We get sloppy and feel out of control. Rushing disables our capacity to be mentally and emotionally available and captures the opportunities that surface in the present moment. When we slow down and move through our activity with greater mindfulness, we are more likely to act with the full power available to us in the present moment. By slowing down, we get more done, feel better doing it, and have a remarkably greater sense of success.
When we slow down and move through our activity with greater mindfulness, we are more likely to act with the full power available to us in the present moment.
The Cost of Rushing
Chronic rushing through a never-ending to-do list feeds anxiety and heightens stress levels. Due to the epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, released in the brain during stressful periods, our brains get “hooked” on the stimulation of activity. Our bodies become addicted to rushing, and our minds go into an autopilot mode where everything seems of utmost importance and must be accomplished quickly and immediately. Because of this, we rush when it is not even necessary, and we are multitasking ourselves into ineffectiveness.
Juggling multiple tasks at once is ineffective compared to immersing yourself mindfully and cultivating solutions strategically and efficiently.
Being Gets Lost in Becoming
As a society, we tend to value doing over being. This is especially true when we have multiple tasks to complete under pressure. Yet, while some things need prioritizing to reach our goals or intended end result, there are those things we do to feel or be perceived as productive. Some of these traps and time-wasters can include:
- Trying to look busy
- Worrying about being judged by those around you
- Measuring your progress simply in deadlines met
- Regularly working through your lunch break
When we rush through tasks to feel busy or to impress, it’s easy to lose the sense of why we are doing them, to begin with, and their importance to our life’s direction.
Transactional versus Transformational
Some tasks that we engage in on a daily basis are purely transactional, keeping us active so that we feel we are moving closer to our goals when in reality, we get caught up in an endless cycle of task completion without any real progress. When we confuse task completion with value creation and commit to busying ourselves, it is easy to neglect the importance of personal transformation to achieve the results we desire.
In recent years, there has been an effort to refocus organizations and employees to engage in more transformational activities, such as mindfulness and awareness-based practices. While still results-oriented, mindfulness can help move ideas, projects, careers, and lives forward. When individuals engage in transformational activities, even around strategy and goal attainment, they tend to self-direct and reach goals with greater ease and more conscious effort.
Using Mindfulness to Get Clear on Your Purpose
If you find yourself rushing constantly, it’s time to slow down, reevaluate and re-route. Instead of rushing on, create a process and think things through. Here are six mindful steps to keep you focused while creating a success plan that re-aligns your activity with your desired results.
- What is the ideal outcome for today? Take a few moments at the start of each day to set intentions for what you would like to achieve today. Journaling is a great way to be clear in your thoughts and words. Phrases like, at the end of the day, I want to feel… or, today, the one thing I want to accomplish well is…
- Understand what matters most to you. Another great practice is to ask yourself regularly what matters to you. Ease, patience, grace, in the flow, intentional are a few words that you might find important to you and your life. Revisiting these frequently by writing them in a journal is very helpful.
- What does success mean to you? We all seem to be running around saying that we want success or to be successful but how many of us have ever defined what that looks like to us. And each of us has a different definition of success. For some, success is defined monetarily, while others success means having freedom and time. If you don’t define success for yourself, you are more likely to rush in the race toward someone else’s version of it.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and actions. Begin observing what thoughts and actions you have each day that either help or hinder you on your path to your ideal life. Try to mindfully observe and reflect on those behaviors without judging yourself or them. And don’t beat yourself up if your actions do not align with your goals just yet. It just means it’s time to start shifting your focus and re-strategize so that your actions align with the results you want.
- Identify the strengths needed for success. What are the skills necessary to actualize your vision of success? What strengths do you already possess that you can tap into and build on? Once you break down the required factors to help you achieve your vision, you also become clearer on the direction to take to acquire the new skills and behaviors you need or further improve the skills you already have.
- Expand those strengths in the present. Do not abandon the skills and strengths you already have for those you don’t, as they can help actualize what you wish to achieve. Focus on them, nurture them, and expand them. Your mental and emotional bandwidth is correlated to your ability for refined action. Remember that all qualities you need to succeed reside in the present with you, and whoever gets to the present moment first and fully, achieves their success.
When we consistently rush from thing to thing, we miss the subtle nuances of the present moment that bring us joy, build connections, cultivate strengths, provide opportunities, and keep us focused on living our ideal life. Commit today to stop rushing to nowhere and begin devoting mindful time to slowing down and change personal habits and limitations to achieve your most remarkable results.