First 30 Days Blog

02 dec

Stop Rushing Through Life

You would think with the amazing timesaving devices such as computers, on-line shopping, auto deli ordering in the supermarket, pick up areas for take out orders – that we would have all this time on our hands. But as one minute frees up, we stuff two more minutes of activities in it.

I often think as I get into the car, “I hope I don’t get a flat because my day is planned so tightly that I wouldn’t have time to get it fixed.” Now that is a problem.

For many, we are in a perpetual feeling of rushing through life – as if every event were just something we had to check off on our life ‘to do’ list. We didn’t remember it; we didn’t love it; but we checked it off and got it done. What a crazy way to go through life.

With the holidays around the corner, consider the following to slow things down, be more present and get more out of the time you have:

  1. Commit to doing a family activity (dinner and a show, short trip, etc.) instead of spending time rushing through malls buying gifts. Memories are better than gifts that end up in landfills.
  2. As a family, select one or two events to attend this holiday season (office party, friends and neighbors) and go have an amazing time – knowing you have the time to be there.
  3. Scale back on the food at the holiday dinner; we all need to eat a little less and we’ll have more time to spend with the people we care about – or (my favorite) get the family in the kitchen to help. It is a great way to start a new tradition. Why rush through the process of getting it ready when you can make the preparation as much of the celebration as the dinner.
  4. Work together to identify a charity or cause that the family feels strongly about. Commit the time to buy gifts, cook, paint, or help out in a way that the charity needs. Teach your family that it is important to make time to care about and take care of others who need the help.
  5. Identify five people you have lost touch with and send a holiday season greeting card. Include a picture (of you, your family, pet, etc.), your phone number and something you remember about the person. Invite a call. Reconnect.
  6. Commit to reading one short story or poem before bed. Set your rest period up to be truly restful by allowing yourself to slow down gently before you sleep. Or, allow yourself 10 minutes of meditation, yoga, a leisurely walk or decaffeinated tea – something to bring the pace down and allow yourself to truly wind down.
  7. Shut the computer off at dinner. No more e-mails; no more Facebook after dinner. Take out a game of Yahtzee, Monopoly or take out old pictures of when the family was young. Reminisce and share some of the forgotten stories.

Commit to ending the rush to get through life. Stop and sit a spell. Notice things around you. Talk to people. Get reconnected. Do fewer things, but do each a little better. Catch your breath.

Life is not a race or an event to check off on your ‘to do’ list. Life is to be lived and you can’t do that running at breakneck speed. Make this holiday the start of a moderated approach to life. As author Sherwin Nuland says in his book The Art of Aging (one of my favorite books), “ We use our 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to learn how to live successfully and well in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.” So, manage life now to not only have healthier years in the future, but to also be truly present today. Because once this day is gone, we don’t get it back.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

Posted by Jay Forte on December 2nd, 2009 in Family, Health, New Directions, Things We Love | 0 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

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