Do You Need to Slow Down? Here’s a 3-Step Prescription for Getting Started

A Cartoon Salary Office Worker Is Busy Working Overtime With HugWe 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.

2 thoughts on “Do You Need to Slow Down? Here’s a 3-Step Prescription for Getting Started

  1. Thanks for the thoughts, Gus.

    The problem is that sometimes these three are in conflict with one another. While I would like to tell my boss that the assignment he just gave me adds no value to my life, so I am going to say no, he would probably not take that very well. When the project I am working on just demands elbow grease, and the need to grind out the details, I can’t say no. Nobody else is going to do it.

    I am not disagreeing with your three points, but there is hidden value there.

    Sometimes the value of something is not apparent on the surface. Maybe the value is having to tackle, complete, and do it with quality something that you don’t see as adding much value. Maybe the value is what it does for the team, and not just for your. Maybe it is what your work product will do for your customer, and the value it brings to them, and not so much what it does for you.

    So when you can’t say no, you move to the third, get clarity and focus.

    Focus on the contribution you are making, the value you are bringing, the creative perspective you add to what the others are saying, the questions you raise that no one else seems to raise. The focus may not necessarily even be on the work product you are producing, but the perspective you bring and the ways you help everyone on the team to think about what they are all doing.

    Thanks for such a stimulating few thoughts. Means much to me when much of what I do I would rather not be doing.

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