Is it me or does it feel like the world is more fast-paced than ever? Everyone wanting everything yesterday? I can tell you that I’ve felt the pressure! And intuitively, I know that isn’t how any of us should be feeling in our day to day lives.
Technology and the internet first comes to mind. Television, social media, Amazon, apps, you name it. Technology has effectively taken over our lives! We can go from instantly connecting with our friends and family to ordering groceries off the couch, so simple even our grandparents can figure it out. I have to say that I do love the convenience that it gives me, but it has definitely come with a price.
“Instantaneity rules, on the screen and on the networks as in our daily lives: instant replay, instant coffee, instant intimacy, instant gratification.” – Jason Gleick of The New York Times
Not only has technology and the internet made it easier to do everyday things, but our minds have become accustomed to this quickened pace. “People now generally lose concentration after eight seconds.”, writes Kevin McSpadden of Time.com. As a whole, society is constantly pushing the envelope with urging us to get things done faster. Lose weight quicker. Consume a lot in a small amount of time. These rushed, repetitive behaviors lead to the creation of habits over time. We get bored immediately so we keep scrolling. Or keep changing the channel. These accessibilities are ingrained into our daily lives. And before we know it, we’re rushed and always feeling the pressure to be quick in our personal and professional lives. In my experience, this has caused me so much necessary stress, anxiety, and has even made me more impatient when dealing with people. We feel rushed so every aspect of our lives mimics that same pace.
So how do separate ourselves from this chaotic pace? Try to avoid checking our phones for notifications every minute? These behaviors and patterns that are so woven into our culture and routine? Realize the value we get from slowing down:
Better Quality Work and Solid Understanding
“Ultimately, strategic speed is a function of leadership. Teams that become comfortable taking time to get things right, rather than plow ahead full bore, are more successful in meeting their business objectives.”
Take it from business strategy experts Jocelyn R. Davis and Tom Atkinson of the Harvard Law Review, less in more. After conducting a study comparing companies and their strategies to maximize their productivity, they discovered something: the companies that only focused on max output suffered performance and quality issues over time.
The other companies? They encouraged discussion, reflection, and conscious action. Strived for innovative approaches rather than just speeding up (or staying accustomed to the historical pace) and churning out. And that made all the difference in their success and longevity.
More Creativity and Openness
“Being quick at the beginning and trying to, you know, accelerate a little bit of progress as you’re generating lots and lots of ideas and trying to do that at a rapid pace, that’s good. And then, at that point, you want to slow down. You want to give yourself access to lots of different, you know, new insights and then move back into productivity mode. And getting skilled at toggling between those two modes is probably what ultimately gets the best balance of creativity and productivity.” – Adam Grant, psychology professor and NY Times best-selling author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
When you slow down, you become more present with what’s around you. You can process your ideas and discover better, more efficient ways to complete something much better than when you rushing to meet a deadline. Whether it’s a work presentation or your own goals, embrace the rush of imagination, but then take time to sort out those ideas. In the end, you’re more likely to avoid mistakes and even worse, go against your best judgement (intuition!).
Self-assurance and Self-care
“Self worth comes from honoring your journey as you strive toward your goals. It comes from being in the muck and feeling the presence of others while you sort your way through it. It comes from stepping into the maze, not knowing what you’re doing, and discovering avenues you never knew existed and new and creative aspects of yourself you weren’t aware of.” – Danielle Benvenuto, psycho-therapist and expert in mindfulness
When you’re in a hurry, do you feel more anxious, stressed, and burnt out? Not feeling solid in ourselves and in our work creates a breeding ground for negative thoughts and habits. When we’re not feeling confident and self-assured, we can more easily cave into pressures and sacrifice our own emotional needs. Our intuitive senses and attempts to self-care are first to go! But by making time to make ourselves the first priority, we honor and own our journey. We can only do our best if we are feeling our best.
There are plenty of ways to actively slow down and be present and mindful in the moment, and you have the control to make that decision:
- Schedule some time to unplug from your devices and be constructive
- Go for a walk without music or distractions and just enjoy the day
- Spend more time with family and friends to re-engage*
*But say no to too many commitments. Strive to do less so you can be present in the moment more!
So if you find yourself feeling impatient when a webpage takes an extra second to load or rushing through your work, remind yourself to catch a breath. The more you practice the intentional action of slowing down, a habit then becomes a routine. And that’s what you’re going for. Healthy mental habits automatically worked into your thought patterns.
Even starting with the smallest thoughts and behaviors gets your momentum going.
Where does rushing get you? Remind yourself of what you’re sacrificing by living life at full speed.
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