We each have our own personal pace. Some of us are hares, and naturally move quickly, while others of us are more tortoises, and we move a little bit more slowly and just tend to have less urgency. And sometimes we’re a mash-up of the two–I call those tor-tares, where sometimes you’re fast, and sometimes you’re slow. Do you know which one you are? Let’s find out, and why it matters.
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I want to share two cool things about our individual relationship to time that I recently learned:
The first is that our sense of time is related to our resting heart rate–it’s like an internal second hand that helps us innately sense when the minutes tick by. If your heart rate is naturally slow, it can make you think that a minute is longer than it is. And if it’s fast, well, so is your perception of a minute. Pretty trippy, right?
I’ve also recently learned about time blindness, which is a hallmark symptom of ADHD; where you just aren’t as tuned in to the passage of time so that it can feel like it’s always disappearing. So there can be quite of a lot of things at play in how you experience time, and how quickly you move through this world.
I share these two pieces of information because our relationship to time is ingrained in who we are. It’s not just that we need to learn some time management techniques, or that we should automatically expect that we are able to function within a rigid external framework of time, where things happen at regularly scheduled intervals. Our experience of time is unique, and personal, which means it’s something we’d benefit from trying to understand better.
Although your relationship to time is nuanced, we do tend to fall into one of three categories – tortoise, hare, and what I like to call the tor-tare
I am a total tortoise. It just generally takes me longer to get things done, and I hate to be rushed, because I don’t have a high sense of urgency. I’m also not very good at judging how long things are going to take, because my minutes pass more slowly than the minutes on the clock. A strength of a tortoise is that they tend to be consistent, because they never move that fast they don’t tend to get that worn out.
If you’re a hare, you’re probably frustrated when others move more slowly, or when other people aren’t as on time as you are, or as available as you are to hang out because they’re still busy trying to finish up the things they need to finish up. On the other hand, you can whip through things and be done with them so you can move on to something more enjoyable. I have a friend who can clean her entire kitchen, I swear, in 15 minutes. I don’t know how she does it.
Maybe you’re a tor-tare–sometimes you’re slow, and sometimes you’re fast. Or maybe you’re always at the middle of the pack. You show up on time (not early, not late). And really, you don’t have to think about time all that much because your minutes basically match the minutes on the clock.
Whether you are a low and slow kind of person or you are more of a house on fire–or somewhere in between
Every mode has its strengths and weaknesses, its benefits and drawbacks.
If you’re a fellow tortoise like me, then you can feel good about the small steps you take every day, knowing that that’s how you get where you’re going.
While if you’re a hare, you’ll know that it will be important for you to have some days just to rest so that you have the energy to keep going.
And if you’re a tor-tare, you can trust yourself that when you’re moving slowly it’s because you’re prepping for a cycle where you move more quickly, and then you don’t have to panic when when your pace naturally slows down.
Discovering, accepting, and working with your natural rhythm helps you stop comparing yourself to other people or to how you thing things “should” work. It is freeing to know that here is no one right way. There’s only the one that works for you.
Once you know your go-to speed, you can be transparent about it
When I’m talking with potential ghostwriting clients, I say, I take a slow and steady approach! That way, if that person is a hare, they know up front that they may not enjoy working with me, for example. Although, speaking as a tortoise who is married to a hare, I can say that sometimes teaming up with someone who has a different personal pace than you is beneficial. My husband helps me move more quickly on things that I would otherwise drag my feet on, and I help him slow down and think about things. It definitely keeps things interesting!
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to ask yourself where you fall on the tortoise-hare spectrum? If you don’t know, think about how long it generally takes you to do things, like finish a book, complete an online self-paced course, or start working on an idea that you’ve been talking about. Also, what irritates you more—when someone tells you to slow down (hare), or when sometimes tries to hurry you along (tortoise)? Thank you and come back next week when I’m talking about Letting Go! Which is great prep for getting ready for summer, when we have a collective opportunity to slow our roll a little bit. Take care.