Seriously, what’s the rush?

I’m typing this with a cast on my arm. I fell on the stairs a few weeks ago and broke a finger. I was carrying bags in both hands, and hurrying. Don’t hurry on the stairs!

On the injury spectrum, this one is trivial, and I appreciate the cast that’s helping those tiny bones knit back together. But the adjustment to temporary one-handedness is causing me to examine my propensity to lurch headfirst through life, often discontented with the pace of things.

The cast reminds me to be more careful on staircases and sidewalks. Yet I still have the urge—to name just one example—to speedwalk down the hallway in my home. What do I imagine I’ll gain by saving a few seconds in transit?

In bed, I can’t grab the covers when I turn over, the way I like to; grabbing doesn’t work with a cast on. I have to be much more deliberate and slow. This frustrates me—the covers should be where I want them, now!—and my frustration seems a bit misplaced. Isn’t bedtime a time for slowing down? Couldn’t adjusting the covers, calmly and gently, be a transition into sleep?

As I anticipate having the cast removed this week, I’m asking the revolutionary (for me) question: Is rushing ever a good idea? Despite my ingrained hurrying habit, I’m hard-pressed to think of a time when it would be.


  1. Rushing means we did not assess the proper duration of tasks. People who plan by duration and plug to-do items in their schedule by start time instead of due time tend to get things done with grace. A friend of mine is doing a 10k this Saturday and she never put in the time to run short stints weeks before so she is going to just wing it. How much better would the run be if she planned how much time in advance she needed to train with short durations broken down through the week in time for the race to be as best conditioned. Rushing at least shows we care yet if we know ourselves, our challenges, we can plan for the time it takes us to get ready, eat, pack to leave and the traffic so we can show up on time. Do allow your arm to heal. It also may just be your personality to move swiftly and now, getting used to this new speed takes a new kind of patience.

  2. Janet Bailey says:

    @Training Connection – Yes, scheduling by start time, and being honest about task duration, can help. Chronic impatience and over-optimizing were also operating: “Why bother with multiple trips downstairs if I can do it all in one?” Thanks for your good wishes. I’m a bit concerned about your friend, running without conditioning first—hope she listens to her body, makes it through without injury, and enjoys the day!

  3. Ann O'Roark says:

    A great man once said, “Hurry is a form of violence exercised upon time”. (Donald Nicholl, theologian, writer, former UCSC professor of Religious Studies)

  4. Janet Bailey says:

    @Ann – Wonderful quote!

  5. Janet,

    As a mom and a healthcare clinician, I can testify that being in a hurry has been the most common result of my root cause analysis of many mistakes I have made.

    No, I never gave a patient the wrong medication or injured anyone, but I have tripped, forgotten items, or missed a clue about some other important element because of it.

    All best,

  6. Janet Bailey says:

    @Candy – Interesting that you’ve found hurrying to be the most common root cause. Not so surprising when you think about it—we don’t pay good attention when we’re rushing. Thanks for commenting!

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