10 slower

10% Slower [PMP #164]

Slower? You want to go slower, I hear you ask! Why is someone who writes about productivity talking about going slower?

Don't want to read this post? Listen to the podcast instead:

Last week I came across this thought-provoking video about why we never have enough time:

Basically, the video is saying this – We’re always trying to do more, work harder and achieve more. Technology is only making this problem worse. We compare ourselves to a filtered world on Instagram which makes us feel inadequate. Even in our leisure time, there are more books, streaming services and TV shows that we can’t possibly keep up with. Going faster and achieving more feels good. But there just isn’t enough time to do everything so we end up fighting a losing battle.

'It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it' - SenecaClick To Tweet

Being productive is great but has to serve a bigger purpose. Why do you want to be productive? I’m as guilty as anyone at channeling my productivity back into doing more work.

Lately, I’ve been getting more inquiries from people looking to work with me. It feels great to be needed and I’d like to help as many people as I can. But the pressure has been adding up and I feel like I’m slowly starting to lose touch with why I started my business in the first place; to have more time and freedom.

Recently I wrote about creating more freedom and why I don’t want to scale my business. The intention is there. But so is the pressure to do more. It’s a tricky balancing act. I do my best to “cash in” on my productivity when I can but it isn’t always easy when I get another email from someone asking for help…

The video ends with some simple advice that really resonates with how I’m currently feeling:

Just go 10% slower…Click To Tweet

I can totally relate to this!

Whenever I’ve come back from holiday, I notice myself doing things slower. Literally. I walk slower, I drive slower, I take more breaks and have more conversations during the day. I still do the same amount of work but I’m chilled and don't rush like I normally do.

This reminds me of a great story that Derek Sivers tells on The Tim Ferriss Podcast (still my favourite interviews. Skip to about 26 minutes to listen to this story). Derek would always ride the bike path on Santa Monica beach as fast as he can and it would usually take him about 43 minutes. Then one day, rather than suffering through all the pain and hard work he normally does, he decided to slow down and take his time during the ride. On the ride he was more present, he noticed more around him and had a really enjoyable time. At the end of the ride, when he looked at his watch, he noticed it had only taken him 45 minutes. Just 2 minutes slower than normal.

I love this story as it illustrates how unnecessary doing more and going faster really is. We try to optimise every second and squeeze as much as we can out of life but for what? If you slow down and actually enjoy the process, chances are you’ll still get a lot done and achieve a great deal but without all the stress that comes from racing through life as fast as you can.

In life, it’s easy to think: ‘If I could just do X or have more of Y, I’d be happy.’ But when we get there, we shift the goalposts and want even more. Life is happening right now. There is no destination. You’re already there… All you need to do is slow down and enjoy it.