We live in a world of contradictions. On the one hand, we don’t do things quickly enough, and on the other, we need to slow down and smell the roses. It’s hard to fo both or to maintain some type of balance.
As children, our parents and teachers are constantly telling us to hurry up and do something – eat, get dressed, get to bed, finish our homework, clean our room, take out the trash, practice our musical instrument, and the like.
So it’s no wonder that we grow up thinking that being in a hurry or doing things quickly can be a great quality – even if it’s somewhat reckless or counterproductive. Being quick to accomplish something as in not wasting precious seconds when we don’t need to can be a great attribute. Then again, not accepting a little latitude in how we complete a project can lead to stress and tension.
Dawdling, wasting time, and just going through the motions are definitely not acceptable performances. However, acting like a whirlwind or going so fast that we are reckless are not either. Conducting activities rapidly just for the sake of saying that we did them is not necessarily the best policy. We can eat lunch in just a few minutes, and most school children do this from conditioning because they are not allowed much time for lunch. Habits formed at this early age often continue well into life, and some people never seem to enjoy eating slowly and tasting their food as opposed to just ingesting it.
Sometimes we like to test ourselves to see how quickly we can do something – ascend or descend a flight of stairs, walk or run a block near our home, wash the car or the dog, cut the grass, shovel the snow off the sidewalk or driveway. We may keep track of it or even write it down so we can compare our performance the next time and go for a personal record. Competition of this nature is well-intentioned and can be fun, and there are relatively few consequences. We may miss a little section of the yard or walk, we may leave a small dirty spot on the car or dog, or we may give ourselves a pass on a poor performance due to a muscle cramp or not feeling well.
Whether it’s doing homework when we are in school, driving well over the speed limit to reach an appointment because we didn’t allow enough time or leave early enough to get there at a reasonable pace, serving food that may not be completely done because we have a deadline to put it on the table, or cutting a few corners on the construction project we are doing because no one will ever notice, the question we need to ask ourselves is if we have to hurry so much to get it done and risk messing it up – or we allow ourselves to do this by tricking ourselves into believing that it’s OK behavior – how are we going to find the time to do it over and make it right, assuming that we get that chance?
Haste often does make waste. It can certainly cause us to get undesirable results because we didn’t do something as carefully as we knew how to do it, didn’t follow the steps in order, took shortcuts, were showing off or trying to impress someone with how quickly and easily we could accomplish something, or tried to something from memory that we hadn’t done in a while.
When we are working in a client’s home and trying to determine what their needs and requirements are to fashion an appropriate solution for them, being in a hurry is not the best approach. Sure, time is money, but we need to budget enough time for the project to do it properly. If we miss an important detail, if we don’t involve the services of an important contributor (occupational therapist or interior designer, for instance) for their input on the solution, or we don’t allow sufficient time to install and complete the job, we work so quickly that careless accidents can happen, or we accept a “good enough” attitude for what we are completing, our end product is going to suffer, and our clients are not going to get the help they deserve and expect from working with us.
It’s not how quickly we can do something for our client but how well. If we can do it quickly and still do it right, that’s fine. They get to begin enjoying what we have created for them that much sooner. Nevertheless, doing things fast for the sake of getting them done should not be our guiding principle. Besides, our clients are likely going to want or need to interact with us while we are working in their home. We have to have time for them.