Take Time to Slow Down
For many people, it’s common to stay busy – to chase a never-ending list of “things to do”, but if we continue to move too fast without rest, we eventually become mostly reactionary versus reflective in our thoughts and actions. This can cause not only awkward mistakes, extra complexity in tasks, and misunderstandings in communication, though it can also impact our general well-being. It might seem counterproductive but slowing down can help you to be more successful. Yet, learning how and when to slow down can be a challenge.
What’s the Rush?
Does your day often include a long list of tasks to complete?
Is your reaction to simply hurry through your day and get as much done as possible?
Do you regularly experience a sense of frenzy to get them all done?
Stress and anxiety can be triggered by the act of rushing.
So ask yourself: Where’s the sense of urgency coming from? Is it appropriate? Is it self-imposed? Is there a benefit to hurrying? Can you shift the due date, so you don’t have to feel so rushed?
Reflect and Balance
Moving forward. Take time to reflect on what most needs to be done and consider adjusting your schedule instead of just your tasks. In doing so, include a better balance of appropriate time to complete the tasks. Some things will always have hard deadlines (such as auditions, etc.) but there are some mitigation techniques to employ for regular tasks…
Focus Your Focus
Realize that activity does not equal productivity so be mindful in how you approach your tasks. When we rush from task to task (sometimes even cutting a task short to complete another one), we often consider this efficient multi-tasking. However, there is generally not enough focused energy to efficiently perform all tasks at hand. This lack of focus or dedicated time can result in multiple errors that can cause future problems and take more time to fix. Do it right – do it once.
Keep Your Focus
Create and have healthy boundaries and better focus. Know that not all emails have to be responded to immediately. Acknowledge that breaking away from your current task to reply can also break your concentration and make the task longer to finish. It’s okay to take time to focus on the current task and to complete it accurately. Also, it’s okay to not check work emails after a certain hour at night (this is especially important during the pandemic with so many people working from home!).
Rush Less, Plan More
Slow down. “Haste makes waste”, so overestimate your time (within reason). It’s natural to underestimate how long a task will take to complete. As we get closer to the due date it’s easy to become hurried, extra stressed, and to make simple mistakes as we rush to get things done (which often delays the task completion). So, until you can master accurate time estimation, start planning double the amount of time you think a task will take to complete. Still try to get it done in half the estimated time, but you’ll have leeway if it takes longer. Bonus! If you complete it early, you’ll receive a gift of time that was not previously planned or available.
Allow yourself the time needed to be creative and find options and solutions for your projects. It’s easy to feel that productivity must result in a tangible “thing” that has been completed – though sometimes the work is the thought process. Creativity and inspiration cannot be forced – they need space to flourish. Take time to let it happen.
Arrive early. If you regularly arrive to meetings or appointments 15 minutes early, you won’t be rushed. You’ll also have more time flexibility if something happens along the way. If the thought of arriving so early is scary (or wasteful) in your opinion – use that time to read a great blog or to check your emails (including those secondary email accounts that aren’t usually as well-tended to).
Practice intentional slowing down. Walk slower and enjoy the scenery more. Instead of getting in the shortest line at the store or gas station, get into the longer line on purpose. You will then intentionally go slower, and you won’t feel as impatient. Plus, you’ll then leave the short line open for those who are in more of a rush. Consider what Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss said, “Learn to slow down. Get lost intentionally. Observe how you judge both yourself and those around you.”
Take a moment to breathe.
Time is precious – and so are you.
So take time to slow down
and maybe smell a rose or two.
After spending multiple years assisting Steve onsite at various conventions, Gwendolyn happily joined Blumvox Studios in March of 2020. Mostly focused in marketing and social outreach, she creates and edits content, measures analytics, and heavily engages with the community.
Gwendolyn has a B.A. in Business Administration with a dual focus in Marketing and Management from the University of Washington. She also sits on the board of directors for Village Theatre in greater Seattle and is a musical theatre “junkie” with many passions in the artistic and creative world.