Getting off autopilot (1 of 4) – Slowing Down

Modern life encourages speed.  We are encouraged to think that fast means good.  We order goods on-line and want them today or, at worst, tomorrow.  Waiting any longer feels unreasonable. Fast food remains appealing, despite what we know about its impact on our health.  We get impatient when faced with a queue – in the Post Office or on the road.

It’s easy to conclude that feeling ok is all about hurrying up.  Hurry up and get stuff done.  Hurry up and get the things that you want …

The problem is, hurrying up can become an addiction; an auto-pilot response to stress and pressure – a compulsion, even. 

Do you:

  • Find that you are trying to pack more and more into your working day?
  • Constantly feel like you are chasing your tail?
  • Make silly mistakes because you are trying to go so fast?
  • Usually find yourself ahead of most other people?
  • Wish other folks would just get to the point?
  • Get frustrated and angry when kept waiting?
  • Speak quickly?

Carry on like this and you will over-stress your nervous system and you could well pay a high price as your mental and physical health starts to suffer.  Take a moment and consider some alternatives.  There’s very little evidence that supports the idea that speed means efficiency.  In fact, there’s a lot of data to support the idea that it does not. 

Next time you feel compelled to jam your foot on life’s accelerator pedal, try these tactics:

  • Build in time to plan before you start something
  • Turn off the interruptions and distractions like texts and social media alerts
  • Take up a hobby that is designed to be slow
  • Learn to focus on your breathing
  • Hone your listening skills
  • Learn to relax and be alone
  • Book some time with yourself just to reflect

Interested to learn more?  Order a copy of our book Staying Sane in Business or get in touch and talk to us about how coaching could help.

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