Slowing Down to Go Faster
So many people are just “go… go… go!” all the time and never take a moment to stop.
They all have one thing in common: ineffectiveness.
Sure, they may look like they’re getting a ton done, but look a little closer.
The quality of their work is less than it could be and much of that time they look so busy because even more time is spent going back and correcting mistakes.
One thing we tell all of our clients is that they have to re-train themselves to slow down.
Guess what one of the most common responses is when we recommend that?
“I can’t! There’s too much to do!”
Exactly the problem!
Did you already think that while reading this?
If so, this blog is for you.
If you realize the truth of slowing down to speed up but can’t figure out how to do it, stick around.
Being in that constant state of “go” usually ends up doing several things to us:
- reduces the availability of self- care time
- distracts us from fully focusing on any single thing
- prematurely ages us by causing a higher base level of anxiety
- lowers our immune systems and reduces sleep quality because of “fight or flight” hormones released during “go-go-go” periods
Truth: all of those things are bad & none of them help get you where you want to go or make you feel good.
I’ve learned a lot about slowing down recently thanks to a major development in our family.
My husband and I recently became foster parents to an extremely energetic 8-year-old girl.
Saying she is “energetic” is putting it mildly.
Never in my life did I imagine a person could have this much energy from the moment she awakens in the morning until the second her motor runs out at the end of the day.
She has simply worn me out like none of our other kids ever have.
With her high energy level, there come some problems.
Moving quickly for this excited 8-year-old means lots of bumping into things, spills, skinned knees, bruises, careless mistakes on schoolwork, careless mistakes in the conclusions she makes and minor around-the-house and in-the-yard accidents.
Nearly 100% of those accidents could be avoided if she would just slow down a tiny bit.
I started working with her on this concept when she’d been in our house for less than a week.
It took a ton of patience and then some more.
Almost all of her rushing about resulted in our family having to stop what we were doing and get distracted… her rushing made us slow.
We started being late for appointments and delaying dinner.
It was not working.
I knew something had to change.
I sat down with our sweet girl and told her the issue.
“You’re so excited – bouncing from one thing to the next – moving without thinking… that it’s causing problems. It’s hurting you, and literally is hurting me…” as I showed her my bruises from her accidents: my leg, hip, chin, arm, shoulder, “and I know you aren’t doing it on purpose, so you’re not in trouble… but something has to change.”
“I’m sorry!” she said.
“This is not about an apology. This is about growing into a better person. You have to slow down.”
She didn’t understand, of course… she’s only 8 and we were sitting still.
“Slowing down your brain by taking deep breaths, concentrating on doing just one thing at a time instead of two or more, and thinking about what you are doing before you launch into action will stop all of these accidents.”
We made a pact to embrace the words “SLOW” and “SLOWLY.”
Truthfully, I made the pact with her that I would embrace the words and remind her constantly until she embraced them.
After a week, there were fewer bumps & bruises, spills, and other accidents.
We saw her happiness level soar and her need for isopropyl alcohol, Neosporin, and band-aids decrease.
…and then one day something magical happened.
“Mama! Come look at this!” she said.
I approached her wondering what in the world she’d gotten into this time.
She was looking at an interesting planter with a few succulents and some flowers planted in it.
“Look at this one… isn’t it beautiful?” she asked.
“It sure is! Look at how each flower cluster is made up of dozens of tiny flowers!” I responded.
We stood there for a few moments enjoying the beauty she literally found along our path.
I snapped a picture and posted it to Instagram and Twitter – sharing is caring!
Then, as she started to bounce off to whatever grabbed her attention next, I encouraged her to notice what just happened.
“Sweetheart, come here a second,” I said to her, “good job slowing down.”
“Thank you!” she said as she started to turn and run off again…
“Wait a second… let’s think about this. If you weren’t learning to go slower, neither of us would have had time to enjoy this. I want you to take a moment to understand what a big change this is for you.”
She beamed and gave me a huge hug.
I said, “A few weeks ago you may have run across this sidewalk wearing those flip-flop sandals and tripped… instead of enjoying the flowers, we would be running inside that building to find a bathroom and mop up a bloody knee. Now we are calm, enjoying life, and we’re on time for our next appointment.”
By slowing down, an 8-year-old became more effective at everything:
- Work (school)
- Play (yes, please)
- Life (enjoyment/happiness)
If those types of results can happen in the life of a little girl what can they do for you?
What would happen in your life if you focused on one thing at a time?
What would the results be if you stopped trying to multitask and started making fewer mistakes and getting things done faster?
How would your life be impacted if you could gain 2-4 hours back into your day just by slowing down?
It’s a reality some recovering over-extended multitaskers are living now because they’ve learned how to increase their effectiveness by simply slowing down.
Want to learn how?