One of my favorite sayings is the one that goes “There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it over.” I love it because it's so true! It applies in so many areas in life, but it's a lesson we often forget.
Teaching The Value Of Taking Your Time
Our five year old son is now in kindergarten, and they're concentrating a lot on writing out their letters and simple words. Each month they get a homework packet, each with a few sheets that focuses on one letter per sheet. It has them trace the letter a few times, then leaves space for them to do it on their own.
My son can do the writing very well if he takes his time, but there are times when he tries to rush through it, and when he does the work is sloppy.
We encourage him to do the work, and remind him at the beginning to take his time. He's already learned that if he rushes through it and doesn't do a good job, that he has to use his eraser and start over.
His teacher sent back last month's homework and was very impressed with the results, as we really concentrated on having him take his time. She even saw one page where we made him erase an entire row of P's and re-do them, and wrote that she was ‘glad' he did those over. We sat down with him and showed him the things that his teacher wrote, and used the positive notes as encouragement to take his time and do the work right the first time.
We can tell that he is taking more time, even on his own, as he has learned the lesson the hard way that quick work leads to being sloppy, and sloppy work means that he has to do it again.
Honestly, my son knows his letters very well, and outside of a few that he writes backwards (those silly S's), he can write them well. The biggest lesson he's actually getting from doing that is the lesson of doing it right the first time, by taking his time.
When Rushing Leads To Sloppy Work
This lesson doesn't apply just to kindergartners doing their writing lessons, this applies to many areas in life. Rushing through things can lead to sloppy work in many areas:
- Work.We've all seen the results when you try to rush through something at work. Poor quality of a product can result, or if you're writing an e-mail or proposal, a costly spelling or grammar mistake from being rushed can lead to big problems.
- Money. Trying to skip over doing a budget the right way will likely lead to a budget that isn't accurate or doesn't help properly lead to making better money choices.
- Parenting. I've learned my lesson more than a few times that the best way to teach a child is to take your time with them. Trying to rush through any part of being a parent will often lead to missed opportunities or more.
- Painting. If you've ever painted a room and tried to rush through it, you learn very quickly that there is no fooling a paintbrush and roller when it comes to trying to rush through it.
The list can go on and on, because as the initial quote I posted sort of suggests, it can apply to just about anything.
How To Avoid Rushing Through Things
Taking your time is easier said than done. So, how best to go about it? Here are a few suggestions:
- State your goal. This one may sound unnecessary, but it's really quite the opposite. If you state your goal, whether it be writing it down, communicating it, or even just thinking it in your head, you'll have an end result that your mind can picture.
- Focus. Once you have that goal stated, keep referring back to it in whatever form you have it, and know that you're working toward that goal.
- Set milestones. If you have a big room to paint, break it down to various tasks or walls. Same goes with just about anything. With our son, when he sees his work as daunting, we tell him to work on one line, and not worry about the rest. This provides the ability to concentrate more and get better results.
- Budget time properly. If you know that taking your time to do something will take 30 minutes, then don't give yourself just 20 minutes to complete the task. Make sure you're allocating enough time to actually complete the work. Who needs to be rushed when it's not necessary?
- Visualize the work beforehand. When I got started on re-painting last year, I first walked through the room and looked at each area I wanted to paint. What did this do? It set each task that I had to do in my head, and it also provided me some reminders on materials that I might need or things that I would need to do. This helped so that I wasn't rushing around looking for items that I might not have otherwise thought of.
It's always tempting to rush through a task. This is especially true for those that you want to get done and over with. However, there's always going to be those things in everybody's life. But, if you take your time, you can end up saving time.
Readers, what are your techniques to avoid rushing through things? Do you ever find yourself repeating work because you rushed?