Hurry Up and Wait …
… is a classic thing that happens to most of us. It happens when for part of the time you are working as hard as you can to get something done, but then once you finish, you have to stop and have to wait wondering if hurrying was ever worth it.
Think about it.
Movie crews hurry to finish setting up but then they wait for the director to finish the scene before scrambling for the next scene. Authors hurry to finish their books and blog posts, but then wait for someone to comment on it or give you a book deal. We hurry and sign the contract, then wait for the lawyers to send their comments and revisions. And government officials — they are even worse than lawyers. You write a memo or brief as fast as you can to give to your superior, just to turn around and wait for hours just to be able to have a meeting with them.
But it’s not just a business concept. It also happens in our personal lives.
We apply to MBA programs or take the Bar exam, expending every bit of energy we have. But then we wait for months to get the result back. Or we call a girl that we like, leave a voicemail and sit around waiting for her to call us back, wasting hours in the meantime.
And in the end, many of us spend as much of our time waiting as we do working.
I propose that the best way to fill up that waiting time is to work on something else. Build in time for new projects. Set up time to revise old ones. And work on things you care about. Not only does it help to pass the time, but it means you are continuing to work on your craft and getting better at things you care about.
And more importantly, for some of us, it helps you take your mind off of the stakes of what you’re waiting for.