Taking The Long Cut

We were on a 28 mile bike ride last month and about a quarter of a way into it, we took the wrong turn which still got us back on the trail, but was a short cut. I was bummed - a short cut! No! I don’t like short cuts when I am biking, I want the long cuts. I want time to enjoy.

When do we ever say that about life? Usually, we want short cuts. Shortcuts mean the easy way, less work. Search for “hacks” on Pinterest - cleaning hacks, food hacks, home hacks, diy hacks, organizing hacks. Almost anything you can think of hacks. They are all there touting how you can get something done in less time, easier, faster.

The word “hacks” means to cut something, in this case you are cutting time. The slang dictionary states it is “a quick solution that solves a problem, but does not solve it particularly well, or in a particularly good way.” It is almost like cheating. Instead of doing it the correct way, the long way, you are creating a quick, shortened method.

Believe it or not, all of this breeds stress. Why? Well because any time you are trying to do something quicker, or find a way to do it in less steps, you are placing a time constraint on the job. Anytime you try to squeeze in more things in less time, you are creating a stressful situation. Quick, find a way to clean your bathroom in 5 minutes or less. Go.

Stress. That’s what I feel when I think about all these hacks. Do more in less time.

Instead, what if we just took our time? Well that means we might get less done right? So, then maybe I don’t do everything there is to do. Maybe something on my list waits until tomorrow or is removed from my list. Now, I am not advocating you do this at work, on in situations where something unsafe or disrespectful could occur. Instead, I am talking about that list we all have at home of things we need to get done.

Last Spring, as I looked at my stressors, rushing to get things done was very close to the top of the list. Since recognizing this, I am making a conscious effort to go slow and get things done as they get done. And I am not taking any short cuts. I am going for the long cuts.

Have I had to push things off for another day or remove some things from my list? Yes, but I created a contentment pyramid and use that as my guide for what I should spend my time on. Then I can delete things that really don’t fit. Once established, I know that I have time to take the long cuts - spend a little extra time and therefore reduce the stress in my life.

As I experiment with a different menu plan, I am taking my time. No shortcuts. Believe me, they do try to sneak in. Old habits die hard. Each time they do, I feel that stress creeping back in. Nope, I’m looking for the long cuts, taking my time.

As I take the long cuts, I am also more open to enjoying what I am doing. Sorry, I don’t enjoy myself trying to do “hacks”. My brain is in overload trying to do the job quickly and here comes the stress. Instead, as I take my time, I focus on the task, relax and try to learn to enjoy it.

The other day we went for a hike and because my husband had a head cold, we walked a little slower than normal. Perfect! I stopped often to take pictures. I noticed the variety of colors in the leaves. I also noticed my camera didn’t quite capture the colors, so I put it down and admired them with my eyes alone. The long cut, yes. I enjoyed the long cut.