- Do less. Overbooking yourself and cramming your schedule is a sure-fire way to become hurried and harried, someone who tap their foot when the checkout moves slowly and beeps their horn if the driver in front doesn’t zoom off the second the light goes green. Intentionally accept fewer activities than you think you can take on in one day; most of the time we over-estimate what we can realistically do in 24 hours. The aim of life is not to eliminate all the white space in your diary but to make the most of what you do include.
- Leave time. Whenever possible, leave a little more time than you think you need for activities (we usually under-estimate) and between appointments (particularly wise if you’re changing location). Leave the house five minutes earlier than necessary and accept that you might have a few “wasted” moments if you arrive early. Wouldn’t you rather twiddle your thumbs and even be bored while you wait than experience the stress of rushing through traffic or ploughing through the crowds on the underground because you’ve cut it too fine?
- Choose your gear. You control your speed. Remember the courtyard scene in Dead Poet’s Society? Just because everyone else is walking in a certain way doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t get “infected” with other people’s haste if it is not what you want or need. And if a part of your day absolutely requires rushing and bustling, take a moment when that activity finishes to breathe and consciously change gear so that you don’t carry the sense of urgency required for one task into everything else you do and for which it is not necessary.
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