The other evening, I set my alarm early for the next morning because they (those evil weather forecasters) were predicting snow once again for the morning commute.
I got up early because I knew it would be a snowy commute going into work and I anticipated that my usual ten mile, fifteen minute drive to my office would turn into a forty-five minute to an hour drive. Being the careful planner I am (yeah right…), I took my shower the night before, set the alarm an hour earlier and hurriedly dressed and got on the road… only to be stopped by traffic… traffic moving at a snail’s pace due to snow on the roads.
For a lot of people, this hurry up and wait situation can be really frustrating… we hurry up and then get stopped in our lives… rush, rush, rush and then BAM we suddenly get stopped or slow down to a sluggish pace… and then we get upset or angry. We get frustrated because we hate to sit and wait. Our society has become one where we want to get to where we are going and we don’t have the patience to wait. We hate waiting in line to put gas in our car… we hate to stand in a line to check out at the grocery store… and we definitely hate to wait in line to get our Starbucks coffee…
Life has become a no parking zone…
I am not sure why we are in such a hurry… what will we really be doing differently if we get to our destination a few minutes early? I knew I would get into my office early on this snowy morning but I did not change what I would have normally done that morning… I filled up my coffee, sat down at my computer, started reading emails… nothing new or out of the ordinary happened that morning. I had the same tasks sitting in front of me to accomplish… it didn’t matter that I arrived a few minutes early.
As I sat in traffic that morning, I decided that I would play the waiting game differently becauseI have so much going on in my life right now. We are selling our house and buying a new one next week so there is chaos all over our home as we are packing and storing all of our belongings. For those of you who follow me, I also write my blog post once a week… and I have not had the time to proactively write a few articles to post while I am busy with other things. So as I sat stopped in traffic on a snowy road, I decided to use the time to do what I am doing right now… writing this blog post ( or more accurately… recording this blog post).
Hurry up and wait… rush, rush, rush… and then get stopped… what can we do?
- Reframe how we view waiting. Waiting does not have to be a negative and can in fact be powerful… waiting can be an unexpected gift… the gift of time.
- Use waiting to take the time to breathe deeply in and out. Yoga teaches us to focus on our breathing… breathe in… breathe out… a form of meditation… a way to decrease our heart rate and relax our muscles.
- Create an intention while waiting. What is our intention for today or for this week?
- Initiate some action planning to move towards the intention(s) we set forth.
I used my time in my car the other morning to think about my organization’s annual performance review process and to get clearer on what I want to do to develop myself over this next year. I thought through some actions that I want to initiate to move forward in my goals (coursework for my coaching certification and creating objectives to align with my organization’s line of sight).
Hurry Up and Wait = Clarity and Focus
We (the drivers) knew that we were going to have a snowy commute that morning. We knew the traffic would be stop and go… we live in Minnesota… we have snowy days in January… roads get slippery… and yes, we need to slow down…
Hurry up and wait is no longer a sarcastic comment for me to make… it is a positive comment… because I am rockin’ and a rollin’ mentally while I am waiting! Waiting has allowed me to focus… focus on what boxes I will pack to make our move go more smoothly… focus on what blog topic I will be writing about… and focus on what I want to accomplish at work…
When have you found yourself in the” hurry up and wait” mode? Does it frustrate you? How do you use that extra time while you are waiting?