How to enjoy your work rather than stressing about it?
Lessons learnt from moving too fast and messing up
Time and again, I have found myself rushing too fast.
Mostly, I have little patience and too much energy. So I just go about channeling it into one thing or the other.
But over time, through a set of events I came to the realisation that ‘rushing’ had become my general personality trait.
See, I don’t deny that speed is important. The speed at which you move does contribute a lot to your success. In fact, this quote by Mark Zuckerberg ‘Move fast and break things’ — always stays in my head as a reminder to keep moving things at a pace.
But I have realised that moving fast shouldn’t mean that you keep moving back and forth to fix things that you break repeatedly.
That just ends up with you wasting a lot of time, energy and resources. There is always a cost to every mistake you make.
I will elaborate a bit about that point.
For instance, while trying to build something big, if you do not invest enough time in laying the foundation right and framing a structure, then things will keep falling apart again and again.
Like in my previous startup, just because I did not spend enough time in establishing a proper inventory management system and a basic process to manage orders, there were a lot of unnecessary mess-ups like wrong, damaged and mismanaged deliveries.
Not only that, I rushed into launching more product lines than I could actually handle without thinking how much time will be needed to manage them or how much they will actually add up to my revenue share. I didn’t reflect on an important question — Does it even make enough business sense?
As I look back, I feel convinced that I could have avoided at least half of the trouble if I wasn’t rushing so much. In my case, I was actually breaking a lot more things by moving too fast.
Maybe creating trouble for yourself is a good way to learn. But I am sharing my learnings because I feel that one should always try to learn from their own and other’s mistakes.
Now, there is no way to know if YOU are at the right pace or moving a bit too fast. So let me share a few things that I noticed about me when I was rushing.
Maybe you will relate to a few/all of them.
1. I was obsessed with the need to do something or the other all the time
2. I was mostly impatient with things/people, demanded quick results and was willing to do whatever was needed to get to them
3. I found it really really hard to plan because of the compulsive need to ‘do’.
4. I was sometimes lost in my thoughts and missed out things/conversations around me
5. I used to forget a lot of things and it caused a lot of problems.
6. I was often tripping over something or bumping into stuff/people while moving. I once fell down and twisted my ankle badly because I was too busy on my phone. (Okay, that one is a bit extreme :P)
7. Despite working so hard, things were mostly messed up and falling apart.
I don’t know if any of the above things apply to you. But even if a few of them do, maybe you are also caught by the same bug of ‘lack of patience’.
If you are always in a rush to get somewhere, you miss out on enjoying the ride. If you are always in a rush, you forget that direction matters just as much as speed.
But so many of us don’t get that.
Why do some of us rush so much? And can we do anything to avoid that?
Here are the few reasons why some of us have a tendency to rush through things —
1. We feel that we can make results come out faster
Maybe you got the wrong idea that you can control the timing of the outcome completely through your actions. While it’s a fact that you need to do shit to make shit happen, the problem with this line of thought is that your actions become ‘result-oriented’ and not ‘process-oriented’.
This means that you are not comfortable unless you reach the finish line and that causes a sense of rush.
Guess what, you will never reach the finish line if you don’t take time to do things well. It is of utmost importance to enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy the process and you are only into something for ‘winning’, chances are that you will eventually lose.
2. We feel we have limited time
Yes, of course we have limited time on this planet. That’s precisely why you need to stop rushing. When you rush, everything passes in a blur. You are never where you really are and you don’t do things quite as well as you should.
To live a meaningful life, you just need to commit to a few things and do them well. Think about it, if you are always in a hurry, you are just impatiently watching your life pass by. What good is that?
“Impatience has ruined many crowns; it had lured people to give up when they have just few minute to win, just few millimeters to touch the winning carpet!”
― Israelmore Ayivor, Daily Drive 365
3. You don’t understand that some things take time
There is this quote by Warren Buffet-
“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in a month by making nine women pregnant.”
That makes sense to us but in most cases even though we refer to our big projects/startups as our babies, we tend to underestimate the time it takes to grow and nurture anything.
4. We feel that our purpose is to serve
Some of us are deeply driven by this philanthropic need to do things in order to serve a bigger purpose. The closest example to this might be the parents who work day in and out to make the lives of their children complete in all sense.
But in extreme cases, people overwork and exhaust themselves which is not a good state to be in.
The point is that even if you intend to serve, you can not ignore your own needs for peace and rest. You must not live a life in which you feel guilty or cautious about taking a break.
Taking a break is your right and the only way you will be able to get back at work with even greater force. That’s the only way to give your best.
Yes, your purpose is to serve. But a dried up river can’t satiate thirst of even one person.
5. We suffer from an anxiety disorder
Some minds are anxious. And I have seen two kinds of anxious people in my life.
The kind who are so overwhelmed by the enormity of tasks and the number of tasks that they can’t bring themselves to take action. And the others who can’t stop doing things because they fear being overwhelmed by thoughts and anxiety if they stop.
Even if you do suffer from an anxiety disorder, you can still find ways to manage your anxiety in a manner that it works for your benefit and allows you to take your time off things to peacefully contemplate.
You can turn your anxiety into a form of strength rather than being driven into a constant state of frenzy because of it.
6. We have too much on our plate
When we have to get a lot of things done quickly, we might think there is no other way than rushing to complete it all. Right?
If you have too much on your plate, there is a slight chance that you don’t know how to delegate. Or maybe you like doing most of the things on your own because you are too impatient to tell others how to get things done. Or maybe you don’t trust the way others function. Or maybe you are just too shy to ask for help.
Or you are unable to draw boundaries when it comes to work.
So if you have just too much on your plate, it might also mean that you are not optimising your task list for the best results.
Either ways, rushing is never a solution. It will do you well to attend to fewer things in a better manner.
7. We feel too competitive and ambitious
Almost everything is a process. Yet, we end up judging almost everything by its result and categorize them into neat buckets of success/failure.
We think we are in a race all the time. It is a conditioning that most of us are raised with considering how the examination system is such an integral part of our education system.
We are not taught enough about the thoughts of abundance — About how there is enough room and opportunity for everyone. So we think in terms of constraints and scarcity rather than thinking in terms of opportunities.
We are driven by fear rather than confidence.
And, all of this gets in the way of enjoying the wonderful process of working. Work should be a meditative process. It shouldn’t drain you. It should fill you up with energy.
Osho talks about how work and relaxation are not contradictory. In fact, he says ‘The more you put yourself into work the deeper you can go into relaxation.’
I guess that is what work should feel like.
No matter what our form of work is we must not rush. Instead, we must strive to enjoy the process and devote ourselves completely to it.
“Be creative. Don’t be worried about what you are doing — one has to do many things — but do everything creatively, with devotion. Then your work becomes worship. Then whatsoever you do is a prayer. And whatsoever you do is an offering at the altar.” — Osho