Omar Ochoa

I take my time

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I used to wash my dad's car for some allowance money when I was a teenager. I remember several times he commented that I was doing it too slow, making jokes about it, saying I would be out there all day.

I remember several times my school mates would comment on how slow I'd eat.

At my first job, one of my manager's biggest critiques was that I worked too slow and needed to hurry up.

When I first moved to Mexico I frequently stopped by a small store and bought some home-made potato chips while waiting for the public transportation. The woman at the counter once mentioned that she would love to have my calm nature. "You're never in a rush," she said. "I wish I could be the same." I've never forgotten that day. Its one of the most positive things someone has ever said to me.

I used to feel insecure about "being slow". It was one of those things I thought I had to change about myself. Its definitely something that today's fast-paced world tries to impose on you. But as I've grown older I've come to accept that I simply like to take my time with things. And while I recieved many criticisms about it in the past, it is not the case now that I am in contact with professionals, artists, and people striving to do their best.

I never quite thought too much about why I like to take my time with things. I just knew that rushing felt wrong: That people trying to make you work faster felt wrong; that sacrificing quality for a faster turnover felt wrong. From what I have recently observed about myself, I can currently say that I like to take my time with things because:

1. I don't enjoy having anxiety or stress

There is an anxiety that starts to surface the moment I start to rush something. Anxiety and stress stunt my productivity and promote procrastination. And it simply does not feel good to rush, so I don't do it. I plan things out way ahead of time and don't take on any last-minute tasks.

2. I like to do things right

I'm not perfect but I try to do things as best I can. Taking my time with any task allows me to really dissect it and approach it in such a way that I have a higher chance of success. Wether this means dividing a task into subtasks, carefully structuring a website for less refactoring in the future, double-checking and triple-checking the dimensions on a piece of wood before cutting it, starting my workout nice and easy so I don't pull any muscles, etc, etc. I take pride in having a good quality outcome. I enjoy the persuit of excellence in whatever I'm doing. That feels rewarding to me.

3. Its meditative

This one mostly applies to cleaning or tasks that are not mentally exhausting. Exercise or sorting my office for example. There is a zone I can get into where I'm not thinking about anything else other than cleaning my office one part at a time or washing dishes one piece at a time, or going on a jog one step at a time. Its repetitive, slow, and it thoroughly relaxes me.

4. It means I have put considerable effort into what I am doing

If I'm not taking my time with something, its usually because something went wrong along the way: The client failed to organize properly so they need a rush job; I was not organized in my life well enough so I had to accept a rush job because I really needed the money; I failed to organize and work consistently because I procrastinated and now I have to do something last-minute; I failed to notify the client/person with ample notification ahead of time; I'm not putting enough care and respect to the art of what I'm doing and settling for sub-par work, etc. To be able to take my time with something means I have put in the thought and effort such that each one of those things I listed (and more) do not happen. That level of orginization and preperation feels good.