Have you ever heard the expression “take the time to smell the (insert odoriferous noun)Of course you have. But did you ever take the time to really implement that saying into your every day life? How often do you smell flowers? Or coffee? Or take the time to do anything slowly, meditatively, and with a really planned out purpose?
Probably not often; I know I never have before about a month ago. This whole month, after reading some very interesting articles about moving slowly and how it’s beneficial, I’ve discovered that I now have a whole lot more free time on my hands, just because I have moved with care and ease.
But moving slowly all the time can’t be too useful, can it? Consider an example.
Your alarm goes off. You set it allowing yourself only 10 minutes to get ready for work, because, of course, you being the guy that you are, you know that you can get ready in that amount of time.
But this morning, you are particularly tired, so you don’t get up for another couple of minutes. This leaves you… oh, seven or eight minutes to get ready now? Right. But then again, your hair doesn’t look as good as it usually does, so you spend a couple extra minutes fixing it to look perfect.
Where are your keys? Where is whatever else you need? You can’t find it, you’re already running next to late. Two minutes passes. Now, you are late. And there isn’t anything you can do about it. You are rushing. In all the rush, though, you spend exactly as much time fiddling around with things due to your quick-jerk movements as you would if you had been moving…even a little slower than normal… you realize that your efforts of rushing have been futile.
But you don’t even have the time to think about this, because you are driving ten miles faster than the speed limit anyway.
Let’s try this situation again… but if you move slowly, precisely, and with a little extra planning and time.
The night before you go to work, you lay out tomorrows work clothes, your wallet, watch, keys, necklace, and whatever else you need on your desk, table, or somewhere that you know where it is. You set up your shoes, even your socks. This takes all of five minutes to prep. You set your alarm to make sure you have 30 minutes to get ready, instead of your normal superman ten.
You wake up. You shower for 10 minutes. Twenty minutes to go. You get out of the shower, grab your clothes, do your hair (with your hair slightly damp, of course, to ensure optimal bondage of the product that you use), get on your shoes, grab your things, get into your car, drive the speed limit, grab a Starbucks at the drive-thru on your way to work, and arrive happier and more ready to work and be productive than anyone else. Why?
Because you slowed down.
I thought about this because I took my time on my computer, writing this. Instead of just wildly typing to get out my ideas like I usually do, I took two seconds, relaxed, moved my mouse slowly to the Writeroom icon, and started writing this article thinking about you guys instead of thinking about me, and why I was writing it even for myself. The whole point was originally to tell you why you should move your mouse slowly – this, obviously, was a bad idea. Nobody really wants to move their mouse slowly. But even if you don’t, there is something to be learned from this idea: you should just move a little slower everywhere to get more things done, from a productive standpoint.
I’m typing this at 60 words per minute instead of my usual eighty, because I’m taking the time to think about what I’m writing at the same pace that I might say, talk, instead of blurt out single lines at a time and then have to recap and do something like a whole document spell check that takes the extra 5 minutes I slowed down anyway just to make sure that everything is typed right in the first place.
Ok, so off of explaining why I wrote it, and into the part you are here for:
The hard, solid evidence about why you should slow down, and how much time it really does save you. So let’s take a look.
In reading, most people have realized that doing things slowly really saves you a lot of time, much like I mentioned above. However, some of the more important points that I found in researching why I should do things slowly, is that you can really take the time to make more meaningful life connections as well. Taking a conversation slowly, and thinking about what you are saying. Shaking someone’s hand, and making sure you establish that contact. Spending just a few, slow meaningful moments with family members to make sure that you are connected.
This kind of interaction, the slow kind, it can make a big difference in your life. It can help you to have friends hat count, people that matter, and to make sure that they respect you for being such a productive, easy going type of person.
Moving slowly regulates both your mental and physical form. Instead of having to concentrate on so many movements at one time, you can take the time to mentally focus yourself to get one specific task done with perfection, instead of just done at all. You can concentrate to perform arbitrary tasks, even, with so much more ease.
Myself, at work, I have to stack lots of things occasionally, but when I do, I sometimes feel that the sheer amount of items that I have to stack is just overwhelming. I want to throw them all at once, or very fast one at a time, into the places where the belong, and then use quick shoves to get them into place. However, if you just pace yourself, like I do now, and move things slowly into place and use graceful, slow motions to put everything where it belongs, everything just gets done so much more smoothly, everything fits into place, you don’t drop anything.
Moving slowly, or at least with a lot of pace, is beneficial to everyone, even if they have to move physically fast. Runners, in particular, always emphasize pace – a mental slowdown of their activity, even though they are moving quite fast in the reality.
Sex experts suggest that sex, when taken slowly, thoughtfully, and paced, vs. rugged animalistic sex, does far more for both parties both during orgasm, and mentally during the bonding period of sexual interaction.
In our lives, moving slowly really does help us to accomplish quite a bit more and with greater satisfaction.
I found an interesting article from USA today that quoted research showing that when you eat slowly, you actually burn quite a bit more, and you also even eat less, due to your body’s hunger response activating more in pace with how fast you are eating. For example, if you eat a giant meal in 10 minutes, your body’s hunger response is going to activate near the end, or even after your meal. You will have consumed all of those calories before you ever even realized that you were full, and now you are stuck with them.
However, if you eat slowly, you can digest on a more even time line and trigger your hunger response at the correct time, and realize how much you really should be eating. You will probably be full before you even finish your meal, allowing you to make more diet-conscious decisions about how much you should eat instead of trusting your eyes and your watch and eating as much as you think you should in the limited time you allow yourself to.
Thinking and Writing Slowly:
I recently read a lengthy article about writing in general, but it contained some really good points about writing slowly, and writing with purpose. If you outline before you write, you are bound to get a lot more done with your time. Instead of just blindly writing for people to read your mush of words plucked fresh for your head without giving them any time to ripen, ask yourself some questions first and select only ripe thoughts to serve others.
How does this writing apply to myself?
Would I want to read my own writing?
How are people going to benefit from this writing?
How can I tailor my writing to fit a specific niche instead of being to generalized?
These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before you even begin writing – afterward, when you actually start, it’s still a good idea to continue with the slow process. Formulate exactly the sentences that you want other people o hear in your head first, before you write them. That way, when people are reading what you have written, it will come out much more naturally than if you had written haphazardly, like most of us all do. You know, you get caught up looking at the cursor and the typing and how fast you are typing, and you kind of lose sight of the goal – why people are going to read it.
Taking notes all the time when you are out is also a good habit to get into that forces you to slow down, and can allow you to remember things for later that are particularly useful. Instead of just trying to use your excellent photographic memory, try writing things down for a change – even drawing them, if you want. It’s nice to take in a couple extra minutes just to know that you have something down in writing. Besides, you can even review it later and give yourself that extra reminder about whatever it was that you had written down, and why it’s useful to you.
The first link here is to some quotes by smart writers, and why they thought writing slow was a good idea. The second is a Timothy Hallinan article that I mentioned earlier, about the entire writing process, although it’s more for novelists than just writers and note-takers.
So there it is – doing everything slowly in your life, and why it’s so beneficial for you. Taking time out can save you a lot more time than you would think, and keeping that in mind can spare you a lot of stress when the going gets tough. Remember, pace yourself, think first, and even when you are moving on a pre-meditated action, do it slowly and with care, because the things that receive the most attention to detail from slow, productive people are the things that turn out the best.
Below is a good book on the art of moving slow, as well as plenty more tips and tricks about how to slow down your busy day and make yourself more productive.
This article was written in 15 minutes at about 60 words per minute, with small breaks to think in-between. I was listening to relaxing music, and had no distractions whatsoever. It took about a minute to make sure that my atmosphere was right and relaxing enough to get you guys the quality content you deserve.