Slow down, you’re moving too fast. . .


I just read an interesting article positing the benefits of working slowly. Those benefits include feeling less frenzied and less fatigued, creating higher quality work product, and being more productive.

Sounds good to me. But I’ve spent a lifetime doing just the opposite–looking for ways to work faster, finish sooner, and get more done in less time–and old habits are hard to break.

Even though I can see the benefits of slowing down, I’m wondering how I can do it.

Busy busy busy. . . no time to stop and chat, I’m late I’m late I’m late.

How about you?

How about if you and I try an experiment and see what happens.

Pick a task or project, or part thereof, grab your calendar, and schedule time to do it. But instead of blocking out the amount of time you think it might take to do the task, allocate more time.

If you think you can do it in 15 minutes, block out 45 minutes or an hour.

Does the thought of doing that make you nervous? Yeah, me too. And that’s why I think we may be onto something.

Now, when the scheduled time arrives, the important thing is to use all of the scheduled time on the task and nothing else. If you finish early, go through everything again. Check your work, revise and update. See if there’s something you missed or something you can improve. If other ideas come to you about other things you need to do, write them down and put them aside.

Don’t stop working on the scheduled task until the scheduled time is up. Force yourself to work slowly on this and other projects, as a way to train yourself to slow down.

In fact, you might schedule a regular block of time on your calendar for “slow time”. This is time you dedicate to more focused, reflective work. As you race through the rest of your week and find tasks that might benefit from greater focus, i.e., a slower pace, mark them to be done during slow time.

You might eventually block out an hour a day for the same purpose.

I don’t know how well this will work, but I’m going to try it. I’ve got a project on my plate I’d planned to do today and I’m going to spend more time on it than I originally planned. If all goes well, I’ll not only get it done, I’ll get it done right–better than I might have done if I sped through it.

And then I’ll skip down the cobblestones, feeling groovy.