One of my goals for the rest of this year is to slow down. I’ve discovered that my mind and feet move a bit more quickly since I’ve become a parent. I seem to be grabbing at every bit of time available to get things done. Sometimes, I give up watching my favorite commercials just so I can check e-mail. Do you do that, too? Do you find that you get fidgety when there’s (potentially) nothing to do?
So, I’m going to grab control of the reins and stop being what Canadian journalist, Carl Honoré, calls a “speedaholic.” Honoré is the author of In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed and Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting. I’d like to take a page out of his books (yes, pun intended). I know I can’t change my behavior overnight, but I can make a greater effort to focus less on how much I can get done and more on the quality of what I get done.
Because when you slow down, you tend to do the following:
- Think things through. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but can be very helpful. By slowing down long enough to assess what’s happening around you, you’re more equipped to better understand many a situation, rather than just seeing what’s on the surface.
- Make fewer mistakes. When you take your time, you’re less likely to trip yourself up. That’s because you’ve thought about most (if not all) of the important details.
- Make better decisions. When you spend more time thinking about the pros and cons of which direction to go, you’re likely to come to more well-rounded and fleshed out conclusions. You may also see your intended path more clearly.
- Become a better listener. Taking the time to really listen to what someone tells you means that you’ll have better conversations. Instead of immediately crafting a rebuttal to what someone says before they finish speaking, you’ll really hear them and get a better idea of what they’re trying to communicate.
- Become calmer. I find that when I’m not rushing around, I tend to be less agitated and less prone to getting frustrated. I also think more rationally.
- Be more productive. One of the benefits of thinking more rationally is that you are more successful at prioritizing and working on the things that need your attention first (you know, instead of playing Angry Birds).
- Be more efficient. This might seem counterintuitive, but by slowing down, you can actually get more done. It’s because you’ll spend less energy trying to cram everything into your day and you’ll work more effectively at getting the important things completed.
- Be happier. Who’s not happy when they cross stuff off their to do list?
- Be more focused. Have you ever realized that when your mind is racing, you’re sometimes paralyzed and unable to actually make a decision or take action? When you take a few minutes to gather your thoughts, you’re better able to focus on the task at hand.
- Be more open to doing nothing. Or, doing something fun. Any something other than working. This means I can get back to sitting still, and enjoying it.