Why Am I Rushing? This Is My Favourite Part…

A few weeks ago I carved out time to work on some blog posts before supper. The kids were occupied and I had tackled all my pressing to-do’s for the day.

I love showing up here; I enjoy working through my ideas over time and slowly seeing them take shape on the screen in front of me.

I also love taking pictures. And while I post lots of personal photography on the blog, I also enjoy time spent browsing the free stock options on Unsplash – there are so many beautiful and inspiring (and funny) photos. I find the whole experience relaxing and part of the fun of blogging.

On this particular evening, I was looking to complete a post and all that remained was finding a header photo. It was a tricky one to figure out – usually I have a specific search string in mind, but this time I was stymied.

After a few minutes of coming up empty-handed, I started to feel a familiar sense of panic.

You’re wasting time, Elisabeth.

Just pick something and move on.

This is taking too long.

I entertained this voice for a few minutes before I gave my shoulders a proverbial shake and asked myself: “Why am I rushing this? It’s my favourite part!

I liked what I was doing, I just didn’t think it was an efficient use of time.

So I took a deep breath, tried more search strings, browsed more pictures and – from what I remember – found something that was suitable and moved on.

I repeat the same behaviours when copying quotes out of books – I often rush the typing process or won’t allow myself the luxury of re-reading sections of the book that surround the highlighted quote. Why? This is my favourite part!

I’ve been known to do this at bedtime (let’s rush through these picture books, let’s rush through these snuggles), mealtimes (let’s hurry up and eat), and while out on adventures (stop dawdling, let’s get to the park so we can have fun).

Which means I’m missing out on savouring some of my “favourite” parts of life.

Why not enjoy the meal I lovingly prepared? Why not re-read the section of the book that captured my imagination or made me think so deeply? Why not snuggle in close and talk about the day with the kids?

I don’t have a good answer. Sometimes life is busy and things have to be rushed. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to stop and smell the roses – proverbially or literally. But most of the time I’ve arranged things such that I have enough margin in my days to enjoy things a little bit longer, without the anxiety that comes from rushing.

P.S. Don’t Quote Me: What Am I Saving My Energy For?

P.P.S. In Praise of Dawdling (Now There’s a Word You Don’t Hear Everyday)

Do you ever find yourself rushing through something you enjoy, simply because it seems inefficient (or for some other inexplicable reason)?

Header photo by Andrew Draper on Unsplash

23 thoughts on “Why Am I Rushing? This Is My Favourite Part…”

  1. I think when you have little kids, you get in the habit of rushing- you only have so much time while they’re napping or otherwise occupied, and you’re trying to get things done quickly. Then that mindset becomes a way of life and it’s hard to get out of it. Of course there are times when I’m still pressed for time, but often I find myself rushing for no reason, just like you described. I’m setting a goal for the day to be more deliberate and enjoy myself. (btw I also love Unsplash!)

    1. Yes- well said! I read this comment after I wrote my own, but could have just said – ditto to Jenny’s comment. 🙂 Excellent point about the “mindset” from having little kids. I think that’s where I am now- my kids are NOT little anymore, so I don’t really need to rush certain things, but I do it, anyway, out of instinct I think.

    2. Such a good point. I don’t remember being in such a rush pre-kids. There was just…a lot more time in my schedule. I also feel like I have to rationalize any activity where I dawdle/putter (getting better about this lately!)…where pre-kids I didn’t feel that same pressure. It was okay to spend a Saturday evening watching back-to-back movies without any guilt. And now there is just always “something” that could be done and because I’m used to being busy/rushing, I tend to rush…and then fill that white space with more rushing.

  2. I am a good dawdler. I don’t rush much anymore. Years ago I was a whirlwind of doing, but if nothing else the pandemic has forced me to slow down– and I love it.

    1. Between the pandemic and the kids getting older/more independent, I definitely think I’ve done a better job in the last two years of slowing down. For me, I tend to give myself a broad margin because I naturally need a lot of white space. The issue comes when I feel obligated to rush through activities that I really enjoy because I don’t deem them…efficient (?) enough? It’s a mindset of rushing, and also maybe not clearly identifying things that aren’t overtly fun that bring me joy. Like browsing for pictures on Unsplash or taking my time to write cheques (one of my many quirks is REALLY enjoying the process of writing cheques).

  3. Jenny’s comment above resonated with me since that is the stage of life I am in! And I am always looking to make life more efficient. But when I feel myself doing that, I try to tell myself that I don’t need to make the most of every single minute/optimize everything. Having kids can make you slow down and appreciate things more, like on walks I will stop and watch the ducks in the creek when I have one or both boys with me. If I was by myself, I would glance at them and keep going. So kids can be the impetus to stop rushing at times.

    I think the achiever in me also wants to get things done as quickly as possible, too. Because it’s another accomplishment to cross off the list but when I act in that way, I don’t enjoy the process!

    1. Yes – kids both require rushing AND force dawdling.
      As with everything, it’s all about striking the right balance.
      And maybe it’s key to identify what we really enjoy doing, especially those little things that don’t make our “highlight reel.” Things like browsing Unsplash or taking a long bath (not me, I LOATHE baths) or writing cheques (yes, this IS me).

  4. LOVE this topic. Some times I have this thought: When reading (every word 😉 ) but feeling like I should hurry up/ read faster/ read more. When puttering in the kitchen doing dishes on a sunny day, while listening to the news, but feeling like I should “hurry up!” to get on to the next thing. In the summertime, while doing yard chores that are actually enjoyable, but feel like I should hustle to get done. While cooking, sometimes! When folding towels or laundry while listening to a podcast- I feel like I should hurry to finish the chore, instead of just dawdling through at a relaxed pace. Because am I supposed to enjoy folding towels?? ha! But what if I AM enjoying that moment??

    1. Definitely never going to try to convince you to skim! I love that you read every word and enjoy doing that!!
      I actually love washing dishes (I also love my dishwasher, but don’t mind hand-washing the items that need to be done that way), but so often rush it.

      And another great point you make: I definitely feel like some things I’m doing shouldn’t be enjoyable. Like I enjoy writing cheques, but I HATE ironing…apparently, some people find ironing to be relaxing?! I like browsing picture on Unsplash. I hate “normal” shopping but love thrifting at my favourite thrift store.

      And then I think so much of this topic, like many others, centers around actually paying attention. It’s only when I stop that I appreciate that, actually, I enjoy washing dishes!

  5. My husband is slow and methodical and because of this, I stopped rushing years ago. I never tell myself to hurry up or that something is taking too long because things will either get done or they won’t. I think it’s telling that I don’t have children!

    1. I’m so glad you’ve learned not to rush – a rare skill in modern society (and yes I do think it’s a skill)! And interesting how kids have definitely made me rush more, but any relationship can impact our assessment of time! Spouses, friends, parents, kids, co-workers etc., could all change how we view time, what we classify as dawdling…making us more or less prone to rushing.

      Thanks, NGS. This is an interesting point I hadn’t really considered.

  6. I definitely do this with books – I’m a little to addicted to the number of books read at the end of the year that I’ll rush through books that I like just to have them be done, so I can count them! Also seconding the thing the commenter said about having little kids. There’s always something to do – take them to school, get them ready, chores, food, plus full time job, etc etc. It wasn’t until my parents retired that I saw them slow down!

    1. Hmmm. What a great one. Yes, I definitely do this with books sometimes. I don’t get too fixated on the number of books I read, but I just always feel this pressure to keep up with all the books on my bedside table…!

  7. Oh yes, I do catch myself rushing through things! Just this morning, as I filed the rough edges of a broken fingernail, I thought…okay, in just a few “short” weeks, it’ll look normal again. But, why should I rush through the next few weeks (or wish them to go quickly)…just for all 10 of my fingernails to look like a full, perfect set? I’m glad I’m catching myself when I have these “rushed” moments, because each time I do so, I pause and take a deep breath. And I’m reminded to savor the moment and not wish it away.

  8. One of the things I’m really working on in my life is to stop rushing. (That, and using curse words in texts.) This is particularly hard for me as a parent of a teen who will, always, always take the slower path to accomplishing nearly anything. It sets off this internal desire for me to rush him, which is, shall we say, often unhelpful. I also know that with FIRE, I need to be more intentional at just slowing down in my life. I’m in a really busy season of life right now, and I’m okay with that, but need to make more time to pause & enjoy along the way.

    1. Somehow things never seem so slow as when a child is going slow…I have a hard time with this, too. It’s a balancing act, as always, as sometimes things DO have to happen on a schedule. But, more often than not, I make schedules when we don’t need them, and miss out on some great experiences because of my rush/timeline.
      It’s all a work in progress…

  9. I concur with the previous comments about life being busy with very young children although for me I think I continued with this busyness it just changed as the children got older. So rather than my time being full of doing things for them when they were too little to do it for themselves that time got used by taking them out to thing and doing stuff with them as they got older. The societal perception that we should always be doing something is related to this too, You only have to look at advertising to see this. COVID/Lockdowns were a great re-set for me to slow down completely and take stock. I now have time in my week when I am busy resting which is as important to me as anything else I do.

    I remember talking to a friend about the jobs that need doing around the house, as her family got older she got the her children involved in the jobs that make the home run smoothly, they were not helping mummy rather they were all doing the jobs that needed to be done within the home and everyone could help with that.

    Those jobs we hate are hard to reframe aren’t they, if we don’t have to do them they I don’t bother. Priorities will be different in each home and it is not about comparing.

    Being in the moment rather than thinking about the next thing goes hand in hand with the busyness of our lives we are onto the next thing before we have finished the previous one. I try, and don’t always succeed, to be mindful and in the moment when I am doing things. It is a lot more pleasurable if I approach things that way as I enjoy them more and if I am resting properly it means my next task I turn to is easier as I have cleared my head before hand and have rested.

    1. The irony is that the more I rest, the more I tend to get done!
      And I’m a huge proponent of having the kids help around the house – and the work can often be very fun when we do it together.
      I think this also comes back to the idea of “margin.” When I have white space I can appreciate jobs that I actually enjoy (like hand washing dishes) instead of seeing them as barriers to rest.

  10. Elisabeth, I am a perpetual rusher, too. I have so much difficulty recognizing the value of slowing down and enjoying what I truly enjoy. And, taking the time to really get deeper into whatever the activity is (reading blogs, reading for pleasure, phone calls with friends, etc.). It makes me sad, because I know that I enjoy these things, but I feel like I am wasting my time. That I should be productive 24/7/365. That breaks to do these fun things (fun for me!) are less valuable than work-work. I’ll often think, when writing or reading blogs with my morning tea, that I “can only” do that until 6:30, and then I MUST get to work. What I don’t know is – what will happen if I (gasp!) read blogs until *6:40*? Will the world tilt off its axis?

    I seriously doubt it.

    You’re right – when we do this, we “[miss] out on savouring some of my “favourite” parts of life”. That line spoke to me. The savoring (although I prefer your spelling!) element. Why don’t I take the opportunity to slow down, to savor, to truly enjoy that which BRINGS me joy?

    I don’t know how to adjust my approach to minimize the rushing… but I am trying to find ways! I’m also trying to find ways to incorporate the truly enjoyable things in life (like I said, blog reading, reading for pleasure, talking with friends) into my days. So instead of doomscrolling while taking brief work breaks (reading the paper on my phone), I am instead reading a fun book on my phone. It’s been so nice to do this – and it provides a real break from work, while doomscrolling, well, does not.

    I hope that you are able to savo(u)r the moments this week. I’m going to try, too. <3

    1. Argh. The whole wasting time (self) argument is so hard to beat into submission. Productivity is this never-ending taskmaster because there is always more to do and, being productive, often means we have MORE sent our way because of our productivity. This is why I’ve tried to “fail” at certain things, or allow myself the indulgence of puttering. Where my activity is based more on the experience than the outcome. But it is tough!

      On a lighter note, I have to admit I really do prefer the look of the British/Canadian spelling with the extra “u.” I know Canadians that modify their spelling of these words when writing for Americans, but I just can’t bring myself to do any such thing…I just like savour and favourite and neighbour!

  11. I can relate to this so much. I definitely know that feeling of rushing through something that I actually enjoy – and it usually has to do with the fact that a) I have other pressing things I need to get done (even if I wished to spend more time on the fun parts) or b) I want to also do other things that I enjoy. I can “waste” a whole afternoon on crafting blog posts and then realize that I also wanted to use that same time to catch up on blogs and also get some reading done… so yeah, I have a “not-enough-time-for-everything-I-want-to-do” problem LOL
    P.S. I love browsing Unsplash!

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