Slow Down

I’m not sure who I’m writing this for…probably me! Last Wednesday I caused myself a lot of extra work and wasted time because I tried to do things too quickly. I volunteered to substitute for another driver delivering meals for a Meals on Wheels route. When I agreed to take on this task, I felt it would be no problem to clear a couple of hours out of my schedule especially since I could just start work an hour early and continue an hour later.

Well, a staff meeting was scheduled after I made the Meals on Wheels commitment meaning I’d need to leave the meeting about 15 minutes early. Not the way I planned. Then afternoon appointments starting piling up. What should have been an easy assignment was getting more difficult.

Nevertheless, I arrived at Marion Senior Services at 10:32 grabbed the ice chest on the bench outside, gathered the basket, route sheets, and the frozen meals. I was on the road in less than ten minutes and since several clients had cancelled delivery for the day, I’d be finished in record time.

However, when I opened the trunk of the car at my first stop, I realized I did not have the hot meals…only the cooler with the milk, fruit, bread, and butter. So much for finishing in record time. It was necessary for me to return to Marion Senior Service to pick up the rest of the meal…15 minutes to the office and another 15 minutes back to my first stop on the route. By hurrying, I managed to waste 30 minutes and at least one gallon of gas.

This is a good example of what happens when you rush through tasks. Hurrying almost always results in additional work and wasted time. Remember the carpenter’s saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” Sure, it may seem like a waste of time to measure twice, but better to take a couple extra seconds measuring than cutting the board the wrong length wasting time and materials. I sure wish I’d measured twice on Wednesday…checking each item packed so I could have avoided a return trip.

At least it’s comforting to know I’m not alone in failing to slow down. Quotes abound on the subject. Here are seven of my favorite:

It has been left to our generation to discover that you can move heaven and earth to save five minutes and then not have the faintest idea what to do with them when you have saved them.  ~C.E.M. Joad

Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.  ~Lord Chesterfield

The West has made people too time-conscious, not knowing where they are going but speeding to get there because time is short. ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.  Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.  ~St Francis de Sales

He bites his tongue who speaks in haste.  ~Turkish Proverb

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  ~Lao Tzu

He who sows hurry reaps indigestion. ~Robert Lewis Stevenson

I hope you can learn from my mistake. Do it once and do it right…slow down!