Well-known Indian independence movement leader against British rule, Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was quoted as one saying, “There is more to life than just increasing its speed.” In other words, getting things done in a hurry without first determining their priority is not what life is all about.

Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman coined the term “hurry sickness,” for excessive time-urgency, which means being tied to the clock and trying to do too many things at once. By doing things too fast or doing too much at one time, we reduce our effectiveness. If possible, we must recognize that working too fast can result in errors and lower quality work. Remember the old adage: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” It’s usually true.

Motivational speaker John Maxwell says that there is no such thing as time management. The term is an oxymoron. Time cannot be managed. It cannot be controlled in any way. No scientist — no matter how smart — is capable of creating new minutes or slow down the clock. So, what can we do? We manage ourselves! Nothing separates successful people from unsuccessful people more than how they use their time. Successful people understand that time is the most precious commodity on earth.

People who suffer from hurry sickness always carry around a bucket list. While they are very conscientious and hard-working, they still struggle with learning the limits of what can be done in a short amount of time. Consequently, they habitually commit to more than they have time for. This seems to come from a fear of missing out on something. Even when people realize they are already behind time, they are reluctant to disconnect and slow down. The business world knows how to capitalize on this by putting merchandise on sale at 12 noon, but the sale ends at 6 PM.

While there is no guaranteed solution or cure for hurry sickness, there are some things that can help soften its impact. One is to set aside specific times for important things in our life that helps brings us calm. Two of those are “sleeping” and “eating.” No matter when you have to go to bed or get up, always manage to get at least 8 hours sleep. Secondly, give yourself enough time to eat without cramming food down your throat. Remember, although you may be in a hurry, your stomach, and digestive system work at their natural speed. Give your stomach too much too fast, and a stomach ache will slow you down.

If you carry a “to–do” list, make sure it is priority based. That way, if you don’t get everything done in the time allotted, at least you got the most important ones out of the way. If you are a Christian, you can add devotion and meditation time to your schedule. Many do this first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. But making it part of your lunch hour is the most effective. You don’t need a shot of 5-hour energy drink when you can take a sip of living-water from the living-water well, God’s Word.

Apparently, King Solomon knew of this “hurry sickness.” Once he wrote that it is not good for a person to take on something they know little about, and if they try to do it in a hurry they are headed for making a big mistake.1 And in another place, Solomon advises that when you start out doing something with a good plan, you’ll most likely get done what you want to get done. But if you are always in a hurry to get something done without a good plan, you’ll end up still wanting it.2 And according to Bible Wisdom Literature, you need to know when it’s the best time to do what you’re planning to do. There are some things that can be done best in the morning, so don’t try to do them late at night. There is a special time for everything.3

This is what was on the Apostle Paul’s mind when he wrote the congregants in the church at Philippi. He told them not to get in a hurry. Always pray before you begin. Thank God for what you already have and then let Him know what you need. It doesn’t mean that it will be given to you instantaneously, but it does mean you’ve invited Him to work along with you to make it happen.4

So, as Mahatma Gandhi said, living is more than being in a hurry to get everything done as soon as possible. Remember, you cannot manage time, but you can manage how you use time. You can’t make up a minute you waste today by adding a minute to tomorrow. And why would you want to swallow a whole grilled steak just to get it in your stomach? It is better the enjoy each bite so you can savor its flavor. It’s the same with life. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 Proverbs 19:2

2 Ibid. 21:5

3 Ecclesiastes 3:1

4 Philippians 4:6

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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