Hurry Sickness


hurry sickness

Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman coined the term hurry sickness after observing many patients suffering from what they called a "harrying sense of time urgency." They called hurry sickness a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.

Friedman and Rosenman say hurry sickness folks think fast, talk fast, act fast, multitask, rush against the clock, while feeling pressured to get things done. Further, these people get flustered by any sign of a problem.

Hurry Sickness Symptoms

Dr. David Lewis in his book 10 minute Time and Management identifies these hurry sickness symptoms:

  1. Never having enough time to meet all the demands on you
  2. Feeling angry and frustrated by delays however unavaidable
  3. Attempting to do everything too quickly
  4. Difficulty winding down once you arrive home
  5. Inability to relax even on holiday
  6. Lack of patience when dealing with people slower-paced than yourself
  7. Leaving things to the last minute
  8. Needing a 'deadline high' to motivate

Meanwhile, author Ann McGee-Cooper in her book Time Management For Unmanageable People, adds several other hurry sickness traits including these: viewing "hanging out" as a waste of time, finding it difficult to respect people who are habitually late, and driving ten or more miles above the speed limit.

Each of us know people affected by hurry sickness. They are in a state of continual motion trying unsuccessfully to achieve several goals that do not come from God. In the process of doing these goals, they neglect God, family, health, while commenting frequently their busyness. Without special diagnosis, you can know you have hurry sickness, when you miss your goals often, you are constantly stressed, often deflecting your ineffectiveness to busyness, lack of time, others, or other irrelevant source, continually.

Prideful Busyness

Some folks addicted to hurry sickness have a prideful busyness. They say they are always busy as if that's a good excuse. They do not realize busy means occupied with the mind concentrated. The issue is this: On what are you busy? The Internet, video games, channel surfing, what? Folks see a lack of time rather than them as the culprit. Each day has 24-hours.

Hurry sickness prevails among church folks doing church stuff exactly as it does among unchurched folks doing non-church work. Both groups ignore two key parameters: First, 24-hours is a fixed daily parameter. That's it. It is available to everyone each day—no more no less. Second, daily, nobody can do everything others expect from him or her, and everything he or she would like to do. So, each of us must choose daily what to neglect and whom to disappoint, and with the help of Holy Spirit, proactively manage the results. I refer to this on going process in Managing God's Time as Selective Neglect. Most of all we must work with priorities

Hurry Sickess Consequences & Cure

Examine the symtoms above. Notice, as the name suggests, hurrying is the problem. The major consequences of this disease are damaging to health and relationships— lack of sleep, ulcers, heart disease, insensitivity to people, and neglecting a relationship with God. We must slow down; but, the first thing on the recovery journey is to try to undersatnd why we are hurrying. We might need help to get to the root of the challenge, but once we recognize the problem, we are on the recovery path.

Early in my (Michel Bell) career, as I zoomed up th corporate ladder, I had a few hurry sickness' symptoms. I was in a hurry to become president of my company: I was impatient, self-centered, and multi-tasked, always trying to do more than humanly possible—I see these things in hindsight only. At age 29, I got my first ulcer, and at age 35 I had the second. Our company doctor was quite blunt to me after the second ulcer. He siad unless I slowed down and recognized I had a problem I won't make it to age forty. I listened, I heard, and adjusted my lifestyle. I pray you find these steps I took to recover, helpful:

  1. Accepted I had a problem and time was not an issue—there was enough
  2. Decided to work smarter, not harder
  3. Accepted my dispensability—this was tough to accept
  4. Stopped multi-tasking and started to work with priorities
  5. Started to inconvenience myself where feasible—I would go to the longest check out line or the longest line at the airport, and so on
  6. Strated to observe creation—plants, animals, birds
  7. Started jogging and exercising regularly
  8. Decided to listen more than I spoke—in one-on-one discussions, I observed my breathing and chose to listen to what was being said and not try to compose a response before the person finished speaking. This was the most significant item on my recovery journey.
Over 25 years later, I thank the Lord for my two ulcers as they communicated unequivocally I had a problem that needed urgent action.

We pray you will accept your fallibility, dispensability, the 24-hour day, surrender your life to Messiah Jesus, and turn to Him daily to guide you.

From time to time we will add "pdf" files we hope you will find useful to help combat hurry sickness.