Do you ever forget to breathe?
Not long enough to cause physical harm to yourself, but when you’re rushing around and in the middle of a stressful day (or month…or year), it can be easy to forget to slow down.
I’m not going to tell you to start meditating or go find a yoga class (you can do those things); however, the benefits of slowing down are vast and can positively impact your work.
For instance, earlier this week there was a flurry of activity and I needed to send out an email that was important. I could feel my blood pressure rising and my face flushing and just reminded myself to stop and breathe.
Deep breath in and out.
I was already thinking more clearly. Slowing down enabled me to do a better job at proofreading the email I was sending and ensuring the correct recipients were included.
Even this morning, I was rushing around my home looking for a misplaced checkbook so I could pay for my children’s daycare tuition … frantic enough that my husband stopped me and asked if I was okay.
I realized that the stress of preparing for our upcoming spring break vacation was eating away at me, and it was manifesting itself through that darn lost checkbook. Once I stopped, I was able to think through those feelings more clearly and come up with a plan to tackle my to-do list.
If you’re not sure of the benefits of slowing down at work, at home or whatever your situation entails, Inc.com has some great reasons why you should (and helpful tips to get you actively thinking about it):
- You’ll have greater clarity.
What’s the point of hustling if you’re going in the wrong direction? Too many people work tirelessly down a path that won’t give them the results they want. It’s like running on a treadmill…you’re working, but you’re not going anywhere.
Slow down and make time for clarity. You can’t see where you’re going if you’re too busy running with your head down. You can’t see the shiny thing in the corner of your eye if you’re laser focused in one direction.
To remedy this, schedule an hour every week to “check in.” Reflect on your intentions and observe the challenges or opportunities showing up in front of you. Think about what’s working, what isn’t working, and where you can focus your energy next week.
- You can’t hustle if you’re dead.
While this heading is exaggerative, you should get the point: You can’t keep working and creating the life you want if you aren’t able to perform. In my case, my head injury could have been worse. What then? Was hustling at all costs worth it?
If your goal is to succeed, then you should be willing to take the time to honor what your mind, body, and spirit need to stay healthy. When every day provides 24 hours, there’s really no excuse not to meditate, exercise, cook a healthy meal, or journal.
The average person spends 53 minutes on Instagram per day, not including Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. Claiming that slowing down is a privilege, or a luxury, is an excuse. You have the same amount of time in your day as Oprah, and she meditates. So does Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce), Arianna Huffington, Beyoncé, and Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn). If they can do it, you can too.
- You’ll harness the power of emotion.
Too many people fail to see the benefits in their emotions. Emotions are a guide, and they help you take inventory of what’s happening in and around you, and how best to respond. Successful people feel and manage their emotions, and they don’t let them trigger bad behaviors or actions.
There’s a mantra that sums this up well: If you can name it, you can tame it. By slowing down, you can feel the emotions you’re experiencing and describe them. In doing so, you can process them and let them guide you to a healthy response.
For example, anger is a great emotion. It tells you that something is wrong, and when harnessed, it provides the energy to change it. If you’re erratic and hustling all the time, anger will get the best of you, and you’ll act on it. The adverse effects can undo your progress and keep you from the success you want. Slowing down helps you channel emotions into actions that serve you well and lead to success.
- You’ll make better decisions.
What good is hustling all the time if a single decision can undo all the work you invested?
To put it simply, your mind is like a car engine: If you always have your pedal to the floor, the engine will redline, overheat, and fail. When you slow down and make time for rest and meditation, you lower your baseline for mental stress. When your mind isn’t racing, it’s free to absorb information, assess the circumstances, and make a good decision.
If success requires making good decisions, and slowing down helps you make better decisions, then consider how you can invest more time in slowing down.
This advice will actually help you work better, faster, more effectively, and more sustainably. You’ll also enjoy yourself, and the process, on a new level.
Consider the benefits described above and identify one simple step toward bringing more slowness into your life. See how that goes, and then try more. As someone who hustled himself into a concussion and changed, I can tell you that life is much better when you balance the hustle with slowness.