We all have something in common—no matter what you do for living, what your social status or job is, whether you’re an executive or executive assistant—life seems to move way too fast. If only you could finish the last email or get that important project started then everything would be okay. If you just get that next job promotion then you could breathe more easily. If, if, if. For those of you who enjoy productivity, slowing down should be the next thing on your to-do list.
If you are suffering from “excessive productivity,” here’s what I would recommend as your prescription.
Get rid of those things that don’t add value to your life. Take a moment to think of those things that are in your life that just don’t carry their weight. This could be at work or in your personal life; they aren’t necessarily bad, but are time wasters masquerading as productive efforts. There are many things in your life that can take your energy and time that aren’t adding value. They could be excessive meetings to satisfy your own need for control, social media that isn’t beneficial, or people in your life who don’t help you grow.
Learn to say no. This might be a hard one for you. To some, saying no implies that you can’t handle it or don’t have the skills to take on the task. Remember, everything that you say yes to means you are saying no to something else. Does what you are saying yes to align with your current focus? Is there something better that you could be doing? Take a serious moment to think about those things in your life and learn what to say yes to and what can wait. If you are focused and have a good sense of the big picture, then saying no will become a lot easier.
Get focus and clarity. Do you value being focused and clear? If not, maybe it’s time to take a brief self-inventory. Slowing down and processing your feelings and goals will help you to get really clear on where you want to be. Remember, this is about you and your focus on life and work. No one else is going to live your life. Be careful of being pulled into too many different directions that need to be taken care of “immediately.” If everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent. Be clear, focused, and methodical.
Slowing down is not stopping; it’s not being less productive. It’s being more focused on those things that really matter: what you value. Take control of your surroundings and make sure you are the one driving your life and not being a passenger.