When Slowing Down is the Fastest Way Forward

Steve Jobs said, “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”

Everyone I know is busy. Some of them are even productive. The most successful people understand that those two things, busy and productive are far from being the same. 

Surprisingly many busy people are huge procrastinators. Productive people rarely delay doing what needs to be done. Busy people are frequently masters of becoming very proficient at doing things that don’t need to be done. Productive people can tell you exactly what needs to be done and why. They specifically know the return on their investment of time for almost any activity they undertake. 

Busy people also tend to get things done faster than productive people. They are even faster the second or third time they redo something because their imagined “efficiency” causes mistakes. Busy people are the rabbits in the race. 

Productive people know that they can often finish first by coming in second. Their first effort may take longer than a busy person’s but their first effort is their only effort. They are not afraid to sacrifice a bit of efficiency for effectiveness. Productive people are the tortoises in the race and they are not a bit embarrassed by it.

John Wooden, the Hall of Fame Basketball coach from UCLA asked, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” 

It’s a question that busy people should ask themselves before they rush to complete a task solely for the purpose of completing it. They may find that slowing down is the fastest way to actually complete anything. They will find that doing something right the first time is alway faster then doing it two or threes times and still not doing it as well as the productive person did it. 

So which type of person are you? Busy or productive? If you’re the busy type then when you’re short on time you tend to speed up even more. That’s counterproductive. If you’re a productive type then you know that when you’re most busy it’s best to take a breath. It’s best to plan your course of action and make sure that whatever you’re trying to accomplish you can complete it on your first attempt. 

The pace of the world has never been faster. It’s perfectly okay to let some things, like busy people, wiz past you as you’re being productive. Don’t worry about the people running past you, you’ll see them again when they finally reach the finish line where you’ve been waiting for what seems like forever. 

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