How to Cultivate the Habit of Slowing Down to Increase Your Productivity
In the work of life and career coaching, certain themes show up with almost every client.
I happen to work with highly productive and ambitious individuals, so the challenge of time management is, understandably, top of mind for all of them. Everyone is looking for the magic bullet — whether the newest calendar system or the latest hack from the experts — and we all seem to be on a never-ending search to create more time and to be more productive in the time that we have.
My clients are always surprised when I share my number one skill/principle/hack (call it what you will) to solve this problem. Slow down! That’s it. Slow down.
This principle is so foreign to high producers (and it doesn’t matter if you are a student, stay at home parent, or a C suite executive) that when I first share it, I’m met with a level of disbelief and even disappointment. “I’ve trained all my life to move faster and faster, and you’re telling me that in order to be more successful, I should slow down? What kind of crazy coach are you?"
The truth is, only when we slow down and focus on what’s in front of us are we able to create maximum value. It’s the time-hack equivalent of “working smarter, not harder."
Consider this: if you were able to get 100% value out of five experiences in your day vs.10% value out of 20 experiences in your day (which is what happens when we are rushing and multi-tasking), well, you do the math.
Here are five ways you can cultivate the habit of slowing down and in the process increase your productivity and life satisfaction:
Develop a daily discipline of inner work, such as morning meditation, journaling, or mindful breathing. The first two will teach your mind how to slow down, and mindful breathing will be the tool you will use all day long to stay in the present moment.
Be patient with yourself. You’ve likely been practicing moving fast for most of your adolescent and adult life. Slowing down is a habit, and will take time to take hold. Start with the commitment to only one interaction/conversation/meeting a day where you will be present as if it is the only event on your calendar.
Stay curious and open. See what shows up for you when you truly believe that you have all the time in the world. I realize that at first you might be pretending to believe, but once you experience the results, you will believe for real.
Train your mind to think only in singular terms. For example, I don’t think of my “clients,” but only the one that I’m thinking of or working with at any given moment. When that’s done, I move to the next. There is only one client, one task, one meeting, and one child at at time to be attended to.
Practice releasing the thought, “I don’t have time.” Some of the most successful and productive people in the world, always have time for what matters. Their lives are full (not busy) and their focus is laser sharp, leading to optimum results. They make this happen by slowing down.
To learn more about the principle of slowing down, or if you’re curious about career and Life coaching, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].
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