Slow down, you move too fast

I’ve had a little writer’s block these past few weeks.  So much to say and always wanting to find the best way to say it.  I should practice letting go a bit more and just write…see what happens.  My writer’s block is often cured when I take a break from the norm, pack up my computer and head out to a local coffee shop.  A change of scenery does wonders for my mind – and my ability to put out on paper (or the computer screen as it were) some good, logical even, thoughts about organizing, life, finding balance.  All the stuff that is all about.

Today was one of those coffee shop days.  It was hot outside and too quiet inside my house.  I knew if I left my office that the buzz of a coffee shop would give me a jolt of energy and likely some inspiration.  It worked!

After hours of taking notes for my soon-to-be tip book on organizing, the woman who sat next to me for most of the afternoon said to me as she stood up “Geez, it’s already 6pm and I feel like I got a lot of work stuff done, but I didn’t get a lot of life done”.  Then she said, “We just don’t slow down enough”.  I couldn’t stop shaking my head in agreement.  She was so right! I’ve written before about the benefits of taking in the beauty that is around you, and appreciating – really noting your gratitude – for all you have, all you are able to do.  It’s a great way to wellness.

And so is slowing down.

Oh sure, we say it all the time as if we “get” what it means to slow down.  But do we practice it?  Do we really, slow down?  I know I could use the reminder every so often.  And for me it came in the mail last week in the form of my health care provider’s quarterly newsletter. It was quite inspiring, actually.

For starters, the title of the newsletter grabbed me.  It was simply titled


Now that’s a title. Then I read what the lead article was:  10 Tips for reducing stress.  These tips weren’t new to me but they really were a good reminder of how we can be productive, but not at the expense of our health. As I reread this article one tip – the 7th to be exact – really jumped out: Stop Multitasking.

It occurred to me that this tip alone was a great way to remember to be more in the moment, slow down, be more aware, and therefore be less stressed, healthier, happier.  We get really caught up in wanting to be so efficient or ubber-productive and we think we achieve it by having multiple tasks going on at the same time.

Not quite true.

The reality is that when it comes to paying attention the brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially — one at a time.  So juggling multiple concepts and tasks and cramming them in your brain actually slows you down from focusing on a task and completing it.  That opens the door wide for stress to come walking in. And stress isn’t an ally in helping us slow down. Under stress we try to move too faster, get more confused, clouded, and end up missing a lot.

And we don’t get to do those minutes or seconds over again.

I believe it’s about focus.  It’s about paying attention to what is happening at that moment and not letting your mind wander or fixate on anything else. Be in the moment. Enjoy the conversation. Complete tasks. Do the best you can do, one thing at a time. And don’t forget to take time to relax without letting work or errands or a to do list interfere with your time.

It’s not always easy to slow down. In this day and age, we are programmed to move fast. There is always “so much that has to get done”. But it’s not going anywhere.  I really think if we slowed down more, stopped running ourselves and our minds ragged, we’d complete more and be happier in the process.

We do move too fast.

We need to slow down….and make the moment last.

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