ARE YOU A VICTIM OF “HURRY SICKNESS” ?
A central element of lifestyle management is the skill to creatively balance achievement and work success with leisure activities, family life and social involvements. Another critical aspect is the ability to feel comfortable at work and at home and to enjoy the experience of whatever is being done at that moment.
But nowadays, most of us are obsessed with getting results or completing one’s task. When task completion becomes more important than enjoying and understanding the work or activity one is doing at the given moment, a sure victim of “hurry sickness” is born.
The resultant constant sense of urgency is the trap of hurry sickness. One rushes to “get things done” to the point where it becomes an obsession.
Breaking this syndrome requires that you learn to enjoy experiences for the pleasure they give. When you gain pleasure from an experience, there is no need to get things done painstakingly. Enjoy experiences, not rewards, and things will get done automatically without any constant stressful sense of urgency.
Hurry Sickness , as defined from a psychological perspective, is “A pervasive and progressively urgent need to complete task in order to obtain rewards at completion without regard for other aspects of the work experience and by using maladaptive time strategies.”
They key causal factor in hurry sickness is the progressive need for task completion. Enjoying what you are doing is neglected with a morbid urge to getting it done as quickly as possible, no matter what the activity.
The need for task completion extends to non-work involvements as well (for example, activities like eating, playing, romance, making love, sex, leisure, having fun, loafing, taking a stroll, recreation, leisure, sports, pastimes, hobbies, holidaying, exercising, lazing around, dozing, enjoying music, cooking, gardening, doing nothing) and interferes with the enjoyment of these experiences because of the persistent inclination to hurry up and finish it off.
Getting things done has become such a strong need because the payoffs or rewards for completion have assumed primary importance. Your work experience has taught you that rewards always come at the end of the activity after you have put forth great effort to achieve a goal. You do not realize that happiness is not a destination but the manner of traveling.
Not only do you feel a sense of personal satisfaction from your achievements, but tangible rewards, such as promotion, cash incentives, awards, and advancements are given to you as well. With time, these rewards have become clearly linked with your self-esteem.
Each time you “succeed”, your ego, your inner self, sends a message to you which says, “You have done well. You are a commendable person because you succeeded again.” Your need for this kind of reassurance has become stronger than you would care to admit.
Time-Urgency quickly becomes a strong internal driving force towards task completion. Your life becomes a frenzy of completing one task after another. You are obsessed with time and wasting any of it becomes almost a mortal sin.
You strive to maximize your productivity by using time ever more efficiently, but you also have a sense that you are controlled by time and you don’t like it. Time is both your challenge and your enemy. A telling sign of hurry sickness is that even while relaxing, you constantly fight the time-urgency that causes you unrest.
Another way to seek to increase your output is to adopt maladaptive time-strategies. These questionable tactics do help you get more done over the short run, but you pay a heavy emotional price.
You now do everything faster, you have learned to “multitask” or “double up,” to do two or more thing at once, and you are constantly preparing for what is coming next before you are finished what you are doing now. The insidious trap is that you get something done quickly even when there is no reason to get anything done at all!
Because of your emphasis on task completion, you focus on finishing without regard for other aspects of the experience. In short, you have lost the ability to enjoy yourself while doing anything because of your incessant drive to get to the finish line. Because of this change, you have lost the ability to emotionally rejuvenate yourself. Chronic fatigue and pessimism are symptoms of this malady.
SIGNS AND SIGNALS OF HURRY SICKNESS
Here are some behavioral signs and signals that indicate hurry sickness:
You now eat in the office while continuing to work or you just skip meals altogether. You multitask while eating. At home, you finish meals well ahead of everyone else and eat in bigger bites without savoring the taste of food. Sharing pleasantries at the table is minimal because you cannot sit long enough. Ask yourself – are you eating mindfully and relishing every morsel of your food?
Relaxed and romantic sex and love-making is but a pleasant memory. The frequency has reduced and even when you do indulge in it, it is a quick encounter and you are off to sleep or on to some other “important” or “urgent” activity. Sex is less spontaneous and more mechanical these days – it has become another hurry-up-and-get-it-done-with activity. Worse, you often indulge in “faking it” in order to get it over with in a hurry so you can quickly get on with the more “important” and “productive” things in life – your “high priority” activities!
Your communication patterns now focus squarely on the negative. Feedback to others emphasizes mistakes and failings and you rarely compliment or offer sincere support to anyone these days. You don’t take the time any more for pleasant chat with family and colleagues. You make demands instead of working cooperatively with others or team-building. And hey, are you on your cell-phone most of the time?
You put aside less time for relaxation and you enjoy it less when you actually try to relax. Time-off is now more of a hassle than it is worth. When you sit still, you feel uncomfortable almost immediately. You have lost the ability to “do nothing” – it’s difficult for you to loosen up and enjoy an idle hour relaxing, doing nothing. [Ask yourself why you work – reflect, contemplate, and realization will dawn upon you that the primary reason you work is to be able to enjoy your leisure, so why aren’t you taking a vacation every day and learning how to enjoy your leisure with full awareness?]
Family members now “report” events to you, but you share little of yourself with them. You and your spouse argue more than you talk. The satisfactions of family life have diminished in quality and quantity. Your impatience is just as strong at home as in the office.
Because you have hurry sickness, your initial tendency is to effect and expedite your “cure” in a hurry too. But this hurry-up-and-get-it-done attitude may actually sabotage your recovery. What is required is patience, perspective and the ability to deal with setbacks in healthier ways.
It is easy to blame hurry sickness on the pressures of the job and what you “have to do to survive” and on the insensitivity of the complex modern world. While each of these perceptions has a grain of truth in it, the fact remains that most of the responsibility for hurry sickness lies within you.
Your drive to get ahead is the real root of the problem and the fact is that you have lost all sense of perspective. Until you accept personal responsibility for your present state, you will not be in a position to confront and reverse the real mischief, damage and harm caused by hurry sickness.
Remember the well-known story of the hare and the tortoise. Decelerate your life a bit, slow down, walk leisurely instead of driving and do not carry or switch off your cell-phone where you can, don’t multitask, do one thing at a time with full awareness and mindfulness and learn to enjoy the experience of whatever you are doing.
Are you a victim of Hurry Sickness? Why don’t you rid yourself of this malady and enhance your quality of life? Sure, you can get rid of Hurry Sickness!