“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”
– Brian Andreas
I’ve been reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington, and one of the topics under the Wisdom section discusses the slow movement and our society’s perception of time, or the lack thereof. We are people bound by time and constraint. “I’m busy.” “If only there were more hours in a day.” “Hurry up!” <Insert alarm, reminder, alert, text message, groupme notification, etc. here> People suffer from the issue of time so much that there’s now a name for it – time famine.
A Huffington Post article titled “The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up‘” went viral last year, and I remember it having a profound effect on me. I don’t ever want to overlook my child’s curiosity, wonder, and awe at the world by rushing from place to place. In fact, I don’t want to suffer from it either. Rushing and hurrying are the opposite of awareness and presence. It stems our childlike nature and prohibits the space for creative thinking. I truly believe that being busy doesn’t have to be the norm; you can choose to slow down and spend your time effectively. You can make it a choice to achieve “time affluence.”
Funny enough, my new job environment has created the space for me to begin practicing “the slow movement.” As a Product Marketer, I am essentially writing all the time. While I have deadlines and last minute requests that must be fulfilled, I’m working on some larger projects that don’t have a specific timeline. While that may sound like someone’s worst nightmare, it has actually forced me to be methodical and consistent with my work and to also block out time to get in the right mindset and get my creative juices flowing.
Slow Movement at Work:
- Go on walks – I take a 15-30 minute break and either walk alone or with a coworker around the block. It’s a nice break and allows me to move my body and enjoy the outdoors. The other day I walked past a Jasmine tree, and the smell literally stopped me in my tracks and took me back to the ashram where I stayed in India. I was at peace the rest of the day!
- Eat lunch away from your desk – Ive been making a habit of eating lunch with others or sitting on the patio so I’m not multi-tasking while eating. Since it takes 12-20 minutes for fullness to set in, mindless eating causes over-consumption which leads to weight gain. I also meditate on food, taking a moment to look at the ingredients, smell the aromas, and appreciate where my food comes from before I eat. It’s like a small meditation that leaves me feeling great after and not too full or lethargic.
- Get out of the office – I’m lucky to have a flexible workplace in which people work from home. I have been working from home or away from the office consistently each week. I get my best writing done in a comfortable and creative environment, free from distraction.
- Put away your phone – Nothing is worse than getting a ping or call while you’re in a meeting or talking to someone. All of these distractions prevent productivity, so I leave my phone at my desk or in my bag whenever I’m with someone and give them my undivided attention. This also goes for laptops; if you have to bring them to a meeting, close them when they’re not in use!
- Keep a gratitude list – Write down the things that make you feel grateful daily. If anything, this is a reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment.
- Prioritize your life – My manager is a great leader in this. She makes time to get her workout in, and we talk about our health plans (workout and diet) regularly. We both support each other in our efforts and when it can be helped, we don’t let work interfere with or be an excuse for wellness.
The acts are simple, but I have noticed that I am happier, more energized throughout the work day, more productive, and more present to everything around me. I’m also aware that life is about balance, and sometimes everything happens all at once, forcing us to juggle priorities. Sometimes, we just feel highly energized, and we want to be out and about and constantly in motion. We must honor that too! The key is finding bits of down time in between so you can sustain and not burn out. My hope is that the slow movement catches on…after all, when we leave this earth, we’ll remember the slow, simple moments – like catching a whiff of jasmine or catching up with a friend – not all the deadlines and emails and rushing. What do you do to slow down, either at work or in your home life? Please comment and share your tips!
P.S. I love sloths!! And they are slow. The end.