Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tip #191: Don't be frantic

There are three speeds at which people can operate: leisurely, purposeful, and frantic.

If you're going at a leisurely pace, you aren't worrying about how long something will take. There's no deadline or it's far enough off not to be an issue. We do many things in our personal life at a leisurely pace and plenty at work.

If you're going at a purposeful pace, you're trying not to waste any time. You plan out what's next so you don't lose time between steps. You multitask when it's reasonable. You don't take any more breaks than necessary. Purposeful can be a lot faster than leisurely.

If you're going at a frantic pace, you're trying to go as fast as possible. People go at a frantic pace when they try to hurry. Frantic may feel and look faster than purposeful, but it's generally a little bit slower because you're spending part of your effort on looking and feeling faster. That effort isn't actually productive. Worse still, frantic is way more prone to errors than purposeful or leisurely.

Don't be frantic, and don't press other people in such a way that they'll feel they need to be frantic. If something is a big hurry, work on keeping yourself and those around you calm. Purposeful isn't "good enough" when it comes to getting things done quickly -- it's better.

You can think about leisurely being like driving the speed limit and just taking whatever route feels fun, purposeful being like driving 10% above the speed limit and checking Google Maps before you leave to make sure you've got the best route, and frantic like flooring it on every straightaway and turning any time it looks like traffic might be slow in the direction you're going. The latter feels faster, but it isn't really and will likely have other bad results.

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