In the hurrying-up chapter of her book How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule, and Reconnect with What Matters Most, Valorie Burton writes about a frustrating day of travel.
Arriving at the airport with time to spare, she tried to check in. She knew the airline, the flight number; she’d triple-checked it that morning. She confidently assumed a system glitch when the self-serve kiosk couldn’t find her reservation. Then the kiosk said there was no flight 4195 departing from Baltimore.
On the way to speak to an agent, she looked at her itinerary for a fourth time that morning and saw what she had missed. Flight 4195 was departing in less than an hour from Reagan National, the airport twenty minutes from her home instead of the fifty minutes she’d driven.
It made me think of the one time in my life when I missed a flight. I’d left some packing to the last minute and wasted some frantic time looking for my driver’s license, which was following me around in my back pocket.
This post missed its scheduled flight, too. It all started when I changed my mind.
I had words almost all packed, but I decided they weren’t the words I wanted to use. I had a better idea. I wrote from home, then had to leave earlier than I’d planned for someplace I’d be spending most of the day. I’ll finish and post there, I told myself.
I slipped the laptop into its case, along with cord, pen, notecards. Gathered the stuff I’d laid out the night before, packed it into the car and set sail. After an hour or so at my destination, I took a break to finish the words I’d started, and I had a vision.
Of my laptop case lying on the foot of the bed.
Burton has a five-point list for these times.
- Hurrying up slows you down.
- Pay closer attention to the details (even the details you think you have under control).
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Create a plan B … fast!
- Laugh at yourself.
She also suggests a reflective question: “What’s the lesson in this?”
One thing I know is that the trip from idea in the brain to good words on the page (or to clarity about lessons) is slow. As Chris Yokel recently observed, it takes three things, and one of them is time to be.
What I wanted to say needs some more time to be.
All of this (including the popular metaphor for this topic—the guy who zooms past us in traffic, until we come even with him at the traffic light) reminds me of riding shotgun with a travel partner through an unfamiliar area in Memphis.
We’d gotten a little lost, and navigation was my job. I made her pull over so we could get our bearings. I love maps, but I can’t read them in motion. The “You are here” point keeps changing.
We’re writing our way through some of the chapter titles in Valorie Burton’s book. There’s no need to read the book; the titles are writing prompts all by themselves. You can find the list of titles and publication dates here, and a list of all the self-care posts here. Have something to say? Please join us. Simply drop a link to your blog in the corresponding post here.
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