Yes, you remember correctly. did have a really short post last week, too. Then as now, it’s a symptom of the (annual review) season. And I’m afraid that “the hurrier I go the behinder I get” is my current life, for real!

This is not exactly a complaint. In general, I like being busy. My Beloved and I realized several decades ago that if we don’t have anything to do, we’ll soon dream up new projects. This can have its downside, of course!

This illustration shows a cartoon of a running man in a suit, along with the words of Lewis Carroll: "The hurrier I go the behinder I get!"
Quote by Lewis Carroll (image from Rose Bowen)

Results of a fertile imagination

The ability to think up new projects means I am rarely bored (I figure if I’m bored, that’s on me. There’s always something to observe or think about, if you don’t depend on someone else to entertain you. Of course, some situations do minimize or even stifle stimulating inputs). But it also means I sometimes over-book myself

Whenever I realize I’m meeting myself coming and going, and getting that “hurrier I go” feeling, it’s usually because I start feeling overwhelmed. And what makes me feel overwhelmed is a lack of time to stop and think

A fantastical ideal

I know the stereotype of the decisive leader is that they just instinctively understand the right thing to do. They’re so quick-witted, they can spot the solution right away. 

A whole bunch of colorful gear wheels of many sizes create the shape of a human brain in this illustration.
Gotta keep the wheels turning! (image by MediaEd, via Chris Drucker)

But I’m a novelist. I can spot a fictional creation when I see one–and nobody’s an infallible, quick-witted leader unless they’re both intelligent and they regularly find time to think through what’s coming next. It may not take them long, and it may come as a jolt of gestaltat least sometimes. 

But one way or another, the consistently astute leader has to take “Think Time.” When I get too harried and start that “the hurrier I go the behinder I get” feeling, I know I’ve shorted myself on crucial “Think Time.”

What is “Think Time”?

Why, that’s elementary my dear. Literally. That’s when the concept of “Think Time” frequently is taught: in elementary school. But it works at any age, because it’s good human psychology. When I was teaching I learned that if the teacher asks a question, then enforces a three-second delay before students can answer, several positive results happen.

Students ask fewer questions, but the questions reflect better thinking. The number of “I don’t know” answers and blank stares go down. Over time, when consistently used, “Think Time” (also called “Wait Time,” but I believe “Think Time” says it better) is associated with rising test scores

Granted, I normally want to think for longer than three seconds about the problems I’ve encountered. I want multiple minutes to meditate upon the way forward. So let it be a sign unto me! Anytime I start muttering my favorite Lewis Carroll quote, I should know what I need to do.

Because “the hurrier I go the behinder I get” is no sane place to live.


Many thanks to Rose Bowen, for the illustrated Lewis Carroll quote, and to the no-longer-viable MediaEd, via Chris Drucker’s “How to Organize and Run a Mastermind Session,” for the “brain gears” illustration. I appreciate both of them!