The Power of Slowing Down
Three ways to “Slow Down” and “Speed Up” Your Success
Too much to do, too little time: this seems to be the mantra of our age. We all have too many emails, too many phone calls, and constantly feel pulled in a million directions.
And the stress of success can take an incredible toll on our health. A study released by researchers at Harvard Business School and Stanford University found that stress at work is just as damaging to a person’s health as secondhand smoke. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/03/health/stress-work-secondhand-smoke/ )
And if we want to advance in the workspace, do we all need to sacrifice our family life to do it? In her book “All Joy and No Fun, Jennifer Senior polled working parents with college degrees and discovered that 65 percent of them found it difficult to balance job and family. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/05/upshot/stressed-tired-rushed-a-portrait-of-the-modern-family.html )
So what is the answer to achieving your career goals without sacrificing your health and family life to get there?
Define What Success Means For You
Are you loving the life that you love? What really matters to you? Do you dream of having a family, a house on the beach, helping others?
Oftentimes we lose touch with our real dreams in the manic shuffle of life. Perhaps your heart-felt goals were deemed “unrealistic” or buried beneath the criticism of friends and family. So dig up those dreams and take the time every day to “slow down” and connect with what uniquely inspires you.
Connecting with what matters is the best time management tool you could ever have. When you prioritize your time based on what you love, you may find that your workload naturally dwindles. You can easily eliminate the counterproductive items in your task list when you are stay connected to your top priorities in life.
Keep it Simple
Warren Buffet’s best business advice to Bill Gates was: “Keep Things Simple.” Simplicity has many implications and it’s an incredible secret to managing time, saving money, and eliminating drama.
One aspect of simplicity is the art of being fully present in the moment. It’s amazing how we can sit together in a meeting and yet be thinking of that ever expanding task list or browsing out bottomless inbox. And yet this simple act of full presence is not only refreshing, it can save an incredible amount of time and energy. When you are distracted, it’s nearly impossible to fully understand someone, fully comprehend a situation, or even sense if someone is telling a lie. Being fully aware, thoroughly hearing others, and assimilating the nuances of a situation leads to win/win negotiations, healthy decisions and a balanced bottom line.
Simplicity also applies to policies, procedures, and products. Challenges are an opportunity to evaluate the complexity of what lies beneath the challenge: has the overall structure become too complex or is the product too hard to use?
Take Care of Yourself
What does self-care have to success? Everything! You are not a disembodied mind floating in a tank; your true power lies within every cell of your body. Although much of our work these days involves intellectual prowess, optimal function of the mind requires optimal care of the body!
When your body is healthy, you are able to perform at your peak, connect deeply with what matters, and be fully present. When you take care of yourself, you can maximize your productivity, and avoid burnout, illness and fatigue.
So if you take the time to “slow down”, eat right and take care of yourself, you will save time and energy in the long run.
What is Time, Really?
Time is a strange thing; it has the ability to expand and contract seemingly at our will. We wish time would slow down when we are doing what we love. And we curse how slow the clock is moving when we’re bored at a meeting.
And although it has the ability to expand and contract, the irony is: our time here on earth is so very limited. And so in the end, if we take the time to “slow down,” we maximize the time we do have, so we have the time to do what matters.