How slowing down can make you work better
On holiday we seem to have more time to enjoy the small things around us, get everything we want to do done and enjoy slowing down. But could applying this attitude to work actually help your career?
It’s a strange phenomenon, isn’t it? – the difference between the quality of time we experience on holiday compared to our daily lives. On holiday time expands and we can engage in reflection, being in the moment, noticing our world and the people around us. Yet time in our daily lives contracts, feels squeezed and there is never enough of it. Yet both days are 24 hours long.
Many of my clients suffer from this ”time poverty” and find it hard to make space to think about their career and the important decisions about their future, let alone day to day life. Does this resonate with you? I know it does with me. It feels like there is never enough time at work or at home to get everything done that you need to, how your to do lists is ever growing and how those around you never seem to receive quality time.
There are choices to be made that can change this, we can live our lives in a different way, not in a busy, frenetic, pressurised way but in a measured, slower, quality way more like our holiday time. The key is slowing down.
Some of these tips can be easily incorporated into daily life, so experiment and see what difference they make to your life and work:
- Notice where your time goes – keep a time diary for a week.
- Switch off – have an hour or more per day when you don”t look at a screen (particularly email which seems to deliver more things to do) – maybe use that hour for quality thinking time or to talk face to face with colleagues or clients.
- Delegate one task per day – don’t feel you have to do everything. If it is possible then empower someone in your team by giving them something to do which will develop their skills.
- Say NO more – often we like to feel useful or important and can find ourselves, volunteering or saying yes to tasks when we know we don”t really have the capacity. Choose a meeting where you can consciously practice resisting the urge to say ”yes”. Notice how you feel when you have decided not to take on more work.
- Allow more time between tasks or activities so you are not always running late or becoming very stressed to get somewhere in time.
- Get in touch with your ”inner tortoise” and find an activity or develop a ritual that requires you to be slow – so you can regain the skill of doing something slowly and rediscover enjoying the process, not just the result.
- Recognise that you may suffer from ”institutional self delusion” where being busy equals importance or success or that you are irreplaceable.
- Don’t take your work on holiday – leave your work phone at home or if you must take it with you only check it at an agreed time for a specific period so it doesn’t creep into your down time.
So try out one or all of these suggestions and notice how the quality of your work and your life outside work can improve just by slowing down! Let me know how you get on.
Originally posted on Career Tree