We live in a fast-paced and complex world, where in our pocket or purse is the technology to access vast amounts of information instantly. Through these high-tech tools, we connect and commit in a moments notice and then use the many time management applications to schedule and manage a “productive” day. All too often, our evidence of success is how much activity we were able to stuff into a 24-hour period and we wear this badge of “busyness” with honor. Evidence has shown that this accelerated way of living is actually slowing us down, and in the long term leads to burn out and failure.
The most insidious consequence of our fast-paced world is that we are often anxiety ridden, wondering if what we are running so hard to achieve is only an illusion. It is. No amount of material success or status will lead to long-lasting fulfillment. We need to slow down and really consider what we want in life. Happiness? Yes, that’s what we all want, once we distill it all down, but we miss the true and lasting way to achieve it. One way is to slow down and assign proper focus to what matters.
There are 3 key areas where we need tap the brakes and slow things down, so we can focus our intentions. We need to slow down and focus our mind and brain activity; we need to slow down and focus our communication; and we need to slow down and focus what we do.
SLOW DOWN AND FOCUS YOUR MIND:
Our brain is like a battery, and being run on “high” for a long period of time drains it until it has no power left. We can either slow down and pace our activity or we can recharge regularly through meditation or restful breaks. We also have control of what we focus on and our focus determines our mindset. If we focus on the problem, we will be drawn into that abyss of the problem. If we focus on the solution, the gravity of the solution will draw us out of the problem. A focus that is too broad will lead us into feelings of overwhelm.
SLOW DOWN AND FOCUS YOUR COMMUNICATION:
The goal to effective communication is to listen intently to understand and to speak clearly to be understood. The challenge to effective communication is “noise” that interferes with the channel. Noise comes in the form of our prejudice, our egoic desire to get OUR point across, combined with a lack of empathy. We need to slow down and listen, pause to consider what was being said and the true meaning behind it, asking for clarification if necessary. Once we have a clear understanding of what was said and are clear on the desired outcome of the interaction, we then can communicate clearly, without bias, prejudice or hidden agenda.
SLOW DOWN AND FOCUS YOUR ACTIVITY:
When it comes to getting things done, less if often better than more. If we can accomplish our top-3 intentions in a given period of time rather than checking off 20 miscellaneous to dos, we will gain meaningful momentum. Simplify and focus on what matters most and you will be successful. Complexity only leads to confusion and bleeds off the energy we could be devoting toward a laser-focused intention. A few tips to help slow down and focus your activity: 1) Pause occasionally and make sure what you are doing will lead you toward your actual goals, 2) Try working with a simplified one-page business plan (or life plan) or even try a one-word plan. My word this year is “Serve”, 3) In all your “doing’, make sure you are “being” who you really are and are acting in alignment to your core-values.
Speed is not beneficial if you are heading in the wrong direction. What’s important is that we arrive at the place that brings meaning, fulfillment and happiness.