Have you ever found yourself thinking the kettle was taking way too much time to boil or the traffic lights were too slow in turning green? We are getting used to having everything on the spot, no waiting, no delaying, even one second, we want instant everything. It does feel sometimes as if we are approaching the limit of what is humanly possible to bear as far as life « speed » is concerned.
Now, like me, most of my clients are super-busy people who do not have time to spare. But too often, this is equated with cramming up lots of activities in the day and having never-ending to-do lists. Does that somehow make us feel more alive, more efficient and important? Maybe we feel we want to experience life in the fast lane, to live it to the full?
Nothing could be further from the reality of what is happening here. Living at 200 miles per hour, we have no time to truly enjoy all that we are living. We may be (maybe!) doing a lot but are we even noticing it? And are we even getting it all done?
Like athletes who do not train day and night, we must find the optimum amount of activity we can handle efficiently, our sweet spot of optimum efficiency. Doing things at a pace that is just right for you will enable you to make fewer mistakes and achieve better results, quite simply. You will achieve more in the end because everything you do will be of better quality.
Usually we wait until we are overwhelmed to realise that something is wrong. What if we tried other ways even before that? Here are a few ideas:
- Do one thing at a time and be in the moment. This is my favourite and we have already discussed it. Hard but worth trying every time you can. Our brain is in fact not truly able to do several things at the same time, it is switching frantically from one to the other. As Clifford Nass, who was a psychology professor at Stanford University demonstrated, multitasking wastes more time than it saves and kills our concentration and creativity. So be more focused, more efficient, more creative: stop multitasking!
- Keep it simple, don’t juggle too many balls: put what is important in your schedule first, delegate what you can and just take things out of your timetable! Ask yourself these questions: What is vital/important/not very important/a waste of time/draining? Where do I really make a difference and where can I delegate? What can I simply not do (learn to say no!)/do less often/do differently?
- Before leaving the office, make a short list of the essential things to do the next day and get to them first thing when you arrive.
- Listen to your own inner rhythms: what is in fact your own right rhythm? Slowing down is not dragging on, it is finding the right pace for you, finding that space in your mind that will give you more space in your life.
- Breathing: before starting on a new task, when walking, waiting… what about taking a deep breath? What about right now? I even have a little challenge for you: what about making sure you take at least 3 deep breaths every day?
And why may you ask, should we be doing that? Well, try it and tell me what you think but I have found that for me, I get better results, I am more creative, more appreciative, I feel more truly alive. So, give it a go and… enjoy!
Do not think like the cowboy who shoots faster than his shadow but like a chess master. (Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber)