Slow down to speed up

The never-ending list of things to do is real. No matter how many tasks we cross off, countless more are added. Will we ever reach the finish line? Of course, we will.  But it’s not how many things we can cross off in one day that matters.  Rushing through our to-do list only leads to miscalculations, incorrect orders and mistakes.  Sometimes costly mistakes. 

So how do we achieve everything that is expected of us, with more efficiency and less stress?

The answer lies in both our mindset and our pace.

Just like the Tortoise, slowing down allows you to work more productively.  By avoiding the rush and being more careful, we can complete tasks in less time and with higher quality.  

Why is this?  Your brain is designed to work at its best when you’re feeling happy, focussed and calm – not rushed, stressed or busy multi-tasking.  Your intelligence, your creativity and ability to solve problems, your memory, and your productivity are all significantly improved when you’re feeling positive, happy and calm, and significantly reduced when you are feeling rushed, worried or stressed.  In other words, you make the best decisions, do your best work, have the best outcomes and are therefore most successful when you’re feeling good most of the time.

Slow down to measure twice to be sure you have it right.  Slow down to double check you have everything you need before you head off to the job.  Slow down to breathe, relax your body and lower your stress. 

Take an extra moment to smile at your teammates, share a joke, look after each other and appreciate each other.  Don’t get me wrong – this is not the time for slacking!  But it is the time for taking an extra moment to breathe, check and be sure.

Here are a few easy ways to slow your pace and lower your stress to enable a more productive and happier version of yourself to emerge.

* Instead of grabbing your coffee to-go, change things up and order it to ‘have here’. Sit down and allow the heat of the mug to warm your hands. Savor that first sip. Resist taking out your phone, and instead take a few minutes to look up and quietly notice the world around you.  These few minutes of calm will allow your brain to de-stress and result in a calmer, more focused and more efficient you.

* Schedule time to do nothing, on purpose.  Unless you carve out time and deliberately allow yourself to just be, your busy schedule will get even more hectic. Block out time in your calendar purely for you to relax without distractions to allow your body to unwind, and those great ideas and solutions to emerge.

* You win every time you remain positive in a negative situation.  It’s easy to fly off the handle when things go wrong.  But what difference does it actually make?  We are all in this together. We all have our challenges, and we are all still trying to get a positive bottom line while keeping our teams happy, healthy and working productively, and our clients satisfied.  It’s a rollercoaster to navigate through for sure, but what will ensure the best outcome for you and your team is to keep your mind focussed on looking for a positive solution, instead of feeding into the stress of the moment. 

* Be compassionate towards each other – you just don’t know what level of stress the other person is facing right now.  Consider taking an extra minute to share some kindness or a smile or compliment.  Consider paying for the coffee of the person standing in line behind you, giving Kudos to those who are doing great work, or taking an extra moment to really appreciate someone for their help. 

Slow down, take time to pause, and be compassionate towards others.  And just like the Tortoise, we will all make it gloriously across the finish line. 

For more mindset and mental wellbeing tools and information, join our Positive Mindset Challenge at

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