You wake up. You stretch. You yawn. You turn around a few times. Eventually, you get up. Slowly, you shuffle towards the shower. You get dressed, but you take your time. You’re not in a hurry. The day starts at 30% throttle. You arrive at work at 9:30, the later end of the acceptable spectrum.

One opened email later, everything is different. Your boss sent a reminder about the important, looming deadline. Suddenly, it’s time to hustle. Full throttle. 110% if you can, for you already lost time in the morning. A frenzy of calls and called in favors ensues. Run Forrest, run! Faster! You skip lunch. By 3 PM, the sea has calmed down somewhat. The project is back on track. The presentation was sent for review.

With the ball back in someone else’s court, you throttle down to 50%. You cruise into the sunset. Then, a last-minute request at 6 PM. Damn! Back to 80%. Finally, you close your laptop and return home to your comfy, 30% pace.

Rethrottling is exhausting. It turns every day into a potential rollercoaster. Sometimes, it’ll accelerate when you least expect it. When you react to every sharp turn as it occurs, you’ll bump your head many times. Your adrenal glands won’t thank you either. Energy is not always available upon request. What if you feel like throwing up already, but the loops keep coming?

Intentions work best when you give them an expiry date – and stick to it. “Tomorrow, I’ll take it slow.” “Thursday is my full effort day.” There’ll always be emergencies, but most to-dos can be moved around like dominos in a chain. Push over the big ones on days where you feel strong. Save some small ones for when you didn’t sleep well.

Pick your throttle setting early in the day or, better yet, the night before. Don’t let your car accelerate at will. Have your say. It’s still you behind the wheel. Navigate life at the pace you set, not the one external forces suggest. After all, a long drive lies ahead – and you have the power to turn on cruise control.