As early as the 1960s, futurists around the world took a look at the rapid advancement of labor-saving technologies and predicted that Americans in the future would work roughly half the amount of time per week. In fact, a famous senate subcommittee in 1967 was told that the average American would work just 22 hours per week for 27 weeks per year.
Despite futurists’ predictions about labor-saving technology, they could have never predicted just how transformational the technology of the coming decades would be to the productivity of the average American worker. It would have been impossible to predict technologies as disruptive as the internet, machine learning, cryptocurrency, or autopiloting vehicles.
These exponentially advancing technologies drastically increased the productivity of the American workforce, but this didn’t have the effect that futurists predicted. Americans never saw the reduction in their workweeks these labor-saving technologies portended. Instead, they worked even longer hours. And thanks to the constant connection provided by the internet and smartphones, work started to follow them home.
The pace and chaos of American life continued to increase over the coming years. On average, American workers today work four more weeks per year than they did in 1979.
Moreover, cultural notions around wealth and status shifted considerably. Years ago, the more wealth you had, the less you worked. Today, the opposite is true. This cultural shift can even be seen in the world of advertising, with popular luxury brands now idolizing wealthy city-dwellers bouncing from one meeting to another. While we can all agree that productivity is generally a positive thing, this new paradigm has put many of us in a constant state of hurry and angst.
If this problem sounds familiar, that’s because it was covered extensively in John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.
How Technology Promotes Pathological Busyness
Many modern technologies have made it difficult for us to exercise patience, enjoy leisure, and think deeply about a topic. In fact, the average smartphone user checks their phone 2,617 times per day. Other studies have shown that even being in the same room as our phones will reduce our critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Hurry has been so habituated and normalized by our culture that it’s difficult to see its grip. This is perhaps the most insidious facet to our bias toward productivity.
That’s why it’s so important for mastermind leaders to be able to identify when they are in a state of hurry, since that will detract from their ability to be present and attentive to their members.
In order to do so, you should develop a system to help you realize when you’re in a state of pathological busyness and hurry, so that you can course-correct in real time. There are a few things you can look for to determine if you feel that you’ve gotten caught up in a state of pathological busyness and lost track of the present moment.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more information on how to integrate technology into a mastermind group and your daily life in a responsible way.
How To Tell If You’re Hurrying
The first symptom alert is irritability or annoyance. Hurrying often gives us an underlying sense of uneasiness or anxiety. Learning to detect these patterns in yourself will allow you to regain patience and composure in your daily life.
If you find that people have to tip-toe around your undercurrent of negativity, it may be time to take a few breaths and bring your attention back to the present moment. If you want honest insight into your irritability, don’t just look at how distant colleagues and acquaintances interact with you. Instead, look at how those closest to you behave, and be honest with yourself when assessing if your irritability is causing them stress.
Another symptom of hurrying you should be on the lookout for is hypersensitivity. If minor inconveniences set you off and produce disproportionate overreactions, that may be a sign that you’re hurrying. Hypersensitivity might take different forms depending on your personality. For some it could show up as anger, and for others it could manifest as depression.
Workaholism is another unfortunate symptom of hurry. As we’ve already discussed, our culture has come to idolize busyness. Don’t let your work become a vehicle for your own anxiety. If you find yourself committing a dysfunctional amount of time to work, you might be in a state of hurry detracting you from other aspects of your life.
Emotional numbness is another common result of chronic hurry, and it’s one that is particularly damaging for mastermind leaders. When facilitating a mastermind, empathy is your greatest tool, and hurrying through life prevents you from connecting deeply with others. You might have fleeting glimpses of empathy and care for others, but you won’t be able to dwell in those feelings long enough to develop meaningful relationships.
Unhealthy physical habits are also very common among people in a perpetual state of hurry. After all, with so much on your plate and on your mind, how can you find time to care about your body? Of course, this is an oversight. Taking the time to care for your body allows you to live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.
Finally, you should always practice self-observation if you find yourself engaging in escapist behaviors. We find ourselves living in a world full of constant distraction. We must remain vigilant of escapist behaviors that seem innocent at first glance. Constantly binging Netflix, excessive drinking or drug use, or pornography addiction should all be red flags to alert you that you’ve fallen out of balance. Those behaviors should remind you that it’s time to recenter yourself in the present moment and leave hurry behind.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more tips on how to detect that you’re hurrying.