A very useful concept in life to understand is that you don’t have to do everything with the same speed. Sometimes going fast means being the least productive at all. Knowing how to slow down enables you to enjoy life more, build a better life strategy and, in the long run, allows you to be even more productive. The concept of using different speeds in life is important in personal as well as business life.
Different speeds in your personal life
There are things in life that you should do extremely slowly and there are things you should do extremely fast. The measurement for that is pretty simple. The more enjoyable an activity or a person is, the more your senses are engaged, the slower your pace should be. In situations like that, we’re unproductive if we rush, because we’re simply missing life. Stopping in the moment, engaging all the senses and enjoying life to the full is the most productive thing we can do sometimes.
You can throw a tasty meal into yourself, just to make sure you’ve eaten something, or you can slow down, be grateful for the food, taste every bite and enjoy your meal to the full. You can just spend some time with your kid/spouse because it’s expected of you, or you can slow down and really pay full attention to a person with your body, mind, emotions and soul. You can just climb the mountain to conquer it or you can stop at the top and really enjoy the view.
There are also things in life that you should do extremely fast. There are things in life you should automate. There are things in life you shouldn’t give any attention to at all. You should still do everything professionally and as it should be done, but you should make sure that it takes a minimal amount of your time, money and effort. Things like cleaning, bureaucracy, worrying, procrastinating etc.
We also shouldn’t forget about things that you should sometimes do fast and sometimes slowly, depending on the situation. For example, having sex or doing sports. Doing it at different paces brings a whole different life experience. Maybe you should introduce a day into your life when you perform things that you usually do fast slowly and vice versa, just to be creative and to experience life in a new way.
It’s not easy to slow down, especially if you were just doing something with maximum speed. Usually, you have to first consciously decide that you’ll slow down. It helps if you have, for example, a thing that you do as a signal to your body and mind to slow down, like taking five deep breaths. The second thing you usually have to do is unplug yourself from all communication devices and distractions. And thirdly, you have to trust yourself that everything will be okay, even if you slow down. You are not missing anything if you slow down when necessary – you start missing things if you don’t.
Different speeds in your professional life
Using different speeds is also very important in the business world. First of all, the concept of time management doesn’t only deal with managing your time, but also your energy. Thus it’s very important to adjust your speed to the energy level you have on a specific day.
Sometimes you have a day when you’re extremely productive, other days it simply doesn’t work. Forcing yourself to work at your maximum speed when your energy levels are low only means hurting and doing damage to yourself. In the long run, your productivity decreases if you push yourself too hard. You have to sharpen the saw from time to time.
It’s definitely true that it’s almost impossible to be successful and respected if you aren’t hard-working, fast, productive and you don’t deliver results. Execution skills, efficiency and speed are an important part of success in today’s fast moving and constantly changing world. But it’s also true that it’s not the hardest-working people who are at the top. A lot of research has shown that success doesn’t come only from being competent and hard-working.
You also need to work smart. If you want superior results in life, you need a superior strategy. But to build a superior strategy, you need to slow down, you need to take time, you need to think, you need to self-reflect on your actions. In situations like this, slowing down means going the fastest possible. What good is it if you are rushing in the wrong direction?
An important part of a superior strategy and success are also innovation and creativity. If you want to be successful, you have to be different and better. Creativity rarely happens when you’re rushing or you’re tense and in an anxious state. Creativity happens when you’re in the flow. Again, slowing down when you need to be creative may be the best move that brings you to the optimal speed.
Going slow in the search mode
When you’re in the search mode, you should definitely slow down. The search mode is about trying new things and reflecting on whether something works for you or not. To reflect well on something, you need to be in touch with yourself, you need to listen to your inner voice and to your emotions. You have to understand what a true part of you is and what inherited or social bullshit is. To do that, you have to go as slowly as possible. In the search mode, you play and you usually play relaxed and slow.
But when you find your fit and start executing, you must accelerate. Speed is very important for winning, if you use it at the right time. Nevertheless, when it’s time to go fast, you should also constantly have a feedback mechanism that tells you if you’re going into the right direction. When the feedback tells you that you aren’t going in the right direction, you need to slow down and go back to the search mode to do reflection, build a new strategy and adapt. You should be prepared to speed up and slow down as many times as necessary in life.
Driving through a day with different speeds
The most important part of everything we’ve talked about is becoming aware that going through a day is like driving, in professional as well as private life. There are moments when you have to drive fast because you are on a highway, there are moments when you have to wait in a traffic jam, there are moments when you have to refill the gas tank and there are moments when you have to stop, just to take in the amazing view or have a chat with an awesome person.
Don’t do everything in life fast or slowly. Don’t do everything in life with the same speed. Accelerate when necessary, or slow down. It will enable you to be much more productive, happy and successful. Different situations, different activities, different speed. Life is not a marathon or a sprint. Life is a combination of all kinds of running as well as taking a rest. For every activity you do, ask yourself: what is the optimal speed I should be going with?