I was driving to lunch on Monday to meet a friend. I knew it’d take roughly 30 minutes to get there and by my watch it was 11:03 am. I had roughly 10 extra minutes I could jam-cram something in that time slot that was lingering on my morning to-do list.
Left with an extra 10 minutes, my mind immediately scans my daily life plan to see what can be inserted here. Quite honestly, sometimes it’s not just one thing– but can I do 3 quick things? And possibly squeeze in thinking about another 1 or 2.
Is this just me?
Of course, those 3 things typically take longer than I think –funny to note that is a scientific fact that we underestimate how long it takes to complete our daily tasks. On any given average Monday, what would typically happen next is that I’m 5 to 10 minutes late from squeezing in 2.5 tasks, hoping that whomever I’m meeting next is also on this same sliding scale rule of time.
I know I’ve arrived nearly out-of-breath from run-walking across the parking lot to a lunch date, a business meeting, a weekend get-together (insert any event) to find that the person I am meeting with appears flushed with the same rushed, heart-racing energy.
However, on Monday. I tried an experiment. You see I’ve been reading a new book called Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play When No One Has the Time (thanks Colleen for the awesome recommendation) and it got me thinking.
Instead of adding more doing, I decided to leave early. Yes, there may have been a snowflake in the sky as a result.
It got really interesting as I noticed myself driving to meet my friend. First off, I turned on the radio and decided I would enjoy several of my favorite songs like I did when I was 16 and first reveled in the pleasure of driving in the car with my music blaring through the muffled speakers of a mini-van.
As I was relaxed and smiling, I came upon a line of brake lights itching and blinking, one-behind-the-other. Roadwork.
This usually causes the type of panic in me that bubbles up from chest and leaves my heartbeat echoing loudly across the inside of the car. I can feel the flight and fright coursing through my body because I have not accounted for any additional minutes and I don’t want my friend to think poorly of me for being late.
This is the world’s tensions I have swam in my entire adult life.
Rushing. Doing. Mutli-tasking. Apologizing. More Doing.
I look down at the clock in my car. I have plenty of time. The stress on the brink of responding relaxes and my body softens into the driver’s seat.
I arrive on time. I enjoyed the ride, the music, even the waiting on the roadwork. And especially, the unhurried feeling of lunch with a friend.
What else can I do differently? Where else can I focus on a single task with plenty of extra time?
It feels so good . . .