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7 Ways to Slow Down Today

7 Ways to Slow Down Today

Slow down

    “There is more to life than increasing its speed”

    – Gandhi

    I always have a list of things to do from here to Neptune, or maybe just as far as Mars but either way it’s pretty long.

    Yesterday I didn’t want to do any of it I wanted to go slow. I wanted to be like the people I see collecting their children from school who have time to do their housework and bring their children to the park. I wanted to be free from all responsibilities and roles and just be.

    So I took it slow. I stopped running from one responsibility to the next. From task to task, from blogger to coach, from mother to sister, from wife to friend. I slowed down.

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    More Haste, Less Speed

    But when I look back at what I achieved yesterday it was no less than I achieve every day. I wrote, I saw a client, I washed, I ironed, I visited my photographer, I hugged my children, I finalized some design work. I commented on other blogs.

    So why did it feel slower than most days? It was slower than most days because my mind was slower. My attitude changed. The voice inside my head was quieter, slower and less demanding.

    I like Being Me

    So I realized I don’t really want to be like those other people who outwardly appear to be calmer than I am and have less to do. They have their own challenges and roles and responsibilities. What I want is to breathe and go slowly. Productivity is not about increasing speed and ticking all the boxes on your task list, Productivity should be about only achieving the necessary to allow you to live a happier more meaningful life.

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    Smile, breathe and go Slowly

    Running won’t help, as Thich Nhat Hanh said “Smile, Breathe and go Slowly, words that Leo from Zenhabits.net has adopted as his philosophy for life. I think there is much merit in these words. A friend of mine attended an event with him last week where he spoke about how we are never ever present. We spend our lives either in the future or the past, always outside our bodies. The only time we are truly present, when we really connect with ourselves is when we take a breath. The breath, our source of life our opportunity to realign ourselves.

    So here’s the take away – 7 Ways to Slow Down Today (not tomorrow, today!)

      1. Breathe, take a long deep breathe and connect with who you are
      2. Practice Mindfulness throughout the day. Every time you remember, stop and bring your mind to the present moment. The past is gone the future unsure, all we have is the present moment
      3. Meditate Regularly. Meditation helps slow down the monkey mind, the one who like to jump from past to future to past again!
      4. Try to connect with nature everyday even if it is sitting in your garden for ten minutes. Quietly at peace, at one with yourself and nature the source of all life
      5. Schedule your work and remind yourself you can only do so much. Do what’s essential and don’t sweat the rest
      6. Become more aware of your self-talk, are you pushing yourself unnecessarily? Are you demanding more work from yourself than is required? Listen and talk back
      7. Spend time with the people you love, always make time for your loved ones. This is man’s number one regret, not having spent enough time with those they love

      Smile, breathe and go slowly.

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      (Photo credit: Nice and slow via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2018

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

      The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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      The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

      Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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      Review Your Past Flow

      Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

      Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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      Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

      Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

      Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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      Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

      Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

      We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

      Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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