“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” — Saint Francis de Sales
The other day, I was on the street saying goodbye to a friend after our lunch together, when out of nowhere another friend came up to me, kissed my cheek, said hi and kept talking as she walked away. She was too busy to stop and needed to keep going. I guess it was because it was her anniversary, which she yelled to me from up the street, and she had to hurry to get ready for it, even though it was only 2:00. I’m glad she was able to at least take that extra second to fill me in on her personal life.
This was in such direct contrast to the time I had just spent having lunch with my friend, which was done at a normal, not rushed pace. We enjoyed catching up, and even though both of us had much to do after lunch, we gave each other our full attention while we were together and even took a few more minutes to say goodbye.
I understand that there are times when we simply can’t stop to do anything other than what we need to do, but if taking an extra two to five minutes out of our life to stop for something that is worth stopping for is too much time to spare, there is something, in my opinion, wrong with that very rushed picture.
As a mindful meditation teacher, I always encourage people to take at least 10 minutes in their day to stop what they’re doing and sit quietly with themselves doing absolutely nothing other than that, and if they can meditate, even better. If someone says they don’t have time to do it, I tell them if they have time to drink a cup of tea or coffee, they can do a mindful meditation I created specifically for that reason. The truth is, each of us has at least 10 minutes to stop our busyness, and if we think we don’t, think again.
Here are some ways to turn your busyness into mindfulness:
1. If you meet a friend on the street, take a few minutes to connect.
2. If you’re busy doing something either at home or at work and someone comes into the room and asks you something, look up and take a few minutes to talk to them.
3. If you need to get somewhere and someone starts talking to you, tell them nicely that you’d like to talk but there’s somewhere you have to be by a certain time.
4. If you’re shopping and someone with a petition to sign asks to speak to you, don’t ignore them, but simply say you’re sorry you cannot give time to this right now.
5. If you’re in the middle of something and can’t talk, don’t answer your phone if it rings. And if you need to, tell that person without being rude that you cannot talk right now and will call them back.
6. If you’re with someone and you need to do something else, don’t cut them off or rush them out the door. Tell them you have to end the conversation and can pick it up at another time.
7. If a service person, like a waiter or salesperson, offers to help you, look up from what you’re doing and make eye contact with them when you say “yes” or “no, thank you.”
8. If you’re having a conversation with someone and you’re eager to make a point because you have to go, try not to cut them off, and let them finish what they want to say.
9. If your child needs your attention, or wants to talk to you, and you’re doing something like trying to get dinner on the table or getting ready to go out, don’t half listen to them. Stop what you’re doing, and ask them if what they need is important, and has to be addressed right now or can wait.
10. If you’re in line somewhere like the grocery store, bank, movie theatre, etc. and the person in front of you is taking longer than you’d like, try not to roll your eyes or sigh. People see you dong it.
11. If you’re in traffic and in a hurry to get somewhere, try and let someone go in front of you. They might be in as much of a hurry as you, and putting someone else before you is not only mindful, but selfless.
These are just some of the many ways you can take a minute or two out of your busy day, and make it about mindfulness instead of hurriedness. Being in a hurry causes you to miss out on many things, and for all you know, one of those things can be life changing for you. You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?
Ora Nadrich is founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of "Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever". A certified life coach and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.