The hurrier I go...

the behinder I get.

These words were emblazoned on a cast iron trivet in my GrandMa Dolores’s kitchen. It looked something like this. It was one of a thousand little tchotchkes, many cheekily espousing the woes of “women’s work” and all impeccably dusted. For some reason this one caught my attention, but it wasn’t until recent years that I finally got it.

When work starts piling up like snowdrifts on my doorstep, my first instinct is to panic. I want to move as quickly as possible to check stuff off my growing to-do list and in my haste, inevitably make mistakes that have to be corrected, stealing more precious minutes away. Much like my darling dog chasing her tail, I end up moving ridiculously fast and accomplishing nothing.

One can only spin in circles for so long before abandoning this exercise in futility. So I developed my tried and true, GMD-inspired method for powering through a massive workload: slow down. This might seem counterintuitive – when you’re trying to get somewhere fast, why on earth would you move slower? But it works. I slow down. I take a bunch of deep breaths – a cliché because they actually work. I make a list and prioritize according to the scariest deadline. And I begin. Tackling one thing at a time with focus and determination is a hell of a lot more effective than trying to do fifty things at once, to varying degrees of success.

As end-of-year deadlines and holiday projects threaten my sanity, I’ma slow down. Breathe deep. Make two trips. Dot my i’s. Put one foot in front of the other. And get it all done at a pace that won’t invite an ulcer. 

And if all else fails, and I stumble to gain speed, and I forget Lewis Carroll’s poignant observation, I’ll take another page out of GMD’s book, and eat some chocolate.