This is part 2 of a series of 3 blog posts on Slow Living. You’ll find Part One here.
I believe that being fast becomes more of a curse than a blessing.
We’re impatient. We lose focus. We forget what is important.
Productivity has increased exponentially in the past century. However, working time has also increased. Paradoxically, isn’t it? You’d expect that if you manage to achieve more with less, you wouldn’t need to work so hard.
But it’s a vicious cycle.
We achieve more, want more, create more, then we need to work more. It’s neverending.
Some people in the world have started to break the cycle. It’s called the SLOW movement. Or Downshifting. Or Anti-consumerism.
We’ve realized that actually, by slowing down, we’re focusing better. We’re creating value. We’re living better.
What do you get for slowing down?
Here are some benefits for slowing down your existence:
1. You’ll have more time to notice the details, and make less mistakes in your work. I’m a very proficient multitasker, and I think this is one of my biggest flaws. People who operate slower freak me out – I’m losing patience very quickly and have the feeling I’m out of tune with the ones who operate slower. But – guess what? – these are the ones who tend to notice details. In a team, the slow thinker is the one who’s going to question reasons, backup options, bells and whistles, and ultimately might help you do less work altogether.
2. You’ll take the time to connect with people who might not matter to you at that particular moment, but who will make an impact later on in your life. Do you start your conversations with “Hi Bob. I’ve got something to ask. Yeah, I’m fine. Here’s the deal:….” Maybe Bob has some important project or idea going on, that you never took the time to find out. I was amazed at how many opportunities started piling up when I just took the time to ask people about themselves. But building relationships is going to help more than just in business.
3. You will build better relationships.
When I call my mother from work, I surprise myself checking email during the call, and becoming less responsive. On the other hand, really hearing her out, asking questions and being supportive – yes, even in a 5 minutes call – makes a difference in our relationship.
4. You’ll eat slower, and will have a better digestion. Slow Food refers to more than just chewing properly and paying attention to how you eat. It’s about creating a proper setting, eating healthy food and even making the food yourself. Now, if you spend one hour cooking something, you’re not going to shove it down your throat in five minutes, are you?
5. You’ll be happier, because you’ll take the time to laugh and take things less seriously. So you’re 5 minutes late. So what? Taking yourself too seriously might do you more damage than good. If you make a mountain out of a molehill every time you miss a deadline or run a bit late, you’re never going to slow down. Slowing down actually starts with the mindset that the near future doesn’t matter that much. The long term does. Put things in perspective.
6. You’ll forget less, because there will be less things on your to do list. By slowing down, you will not have time to do everything, and you will need to decide what truly matters. And to those things, you will devote your best time.
7. You’ll have less heart and blood pressure problems, and less headaches. It’s been scientifically proven that fast reactions are powered by adrenaline. The “rush” that we get when we’re stressed is a chemical reaction fueled by the instinct “fight or run”. But this drains the organism. Keeping it permanently on “fast forward” is going to make it rust faster. Cells will react. The immune system will become less responsive, and you will get sick much easier. Blood pressure will increase. And, yes, ironically enough, you might be on a faster way to your death. Slowing down, here, really becomes a better option.
8. You’ll enjoy your own company more, because you’ll not feel compelled to DO something every free minute of the day. You’ll be free to simply…do nothing.
My theory is that the compulsion to do things fast comes from a perfectionist attitude and a need to please.
“I want to please everyone and be perfect, so I try to do everything. I don’t have time to do everything, but I can’t let people down, so I do things faster, even if it damages myself. If I have some free time, there’s always a task for something or someone. Being alone with myself makes me feel guilty that I’m wasting time. “
“If, however, I am ok with myself and with not being able to please everyone, I will take things slower. I might not be able to finish everything, but that’s ok. Being alone with myself is an opportunity to relax and ground myself.”
Next post I am going to talk about HOW to introduce some SLOW living tips into your daily life.