Category Archives: Slow Down Slow

Let’s Get Playful

I started this blog post earlier today. If I had finished it would have read very differently. I would have talked about being ‘present in the moment’ and my observations of human behavior and how we have all, mostly, lost touch with the present in our fast-paced, constantly evolving, sound-byte, multi-tasking world where everyone is rushing to ‘get ahead’: literally and figuratively. It was a dry post, and I didn’t get far with it; a couple of paragraphs and then I started boring even myself. This is never a good sign. If you can’t get your own interest as the writer of the piece than what are you readers going to do? Stop reading that’s what.

End of sentence. Full stop.

So I came to the end of a sentence and I took off for greener pastures, which in my case, today, was writing some fiction at www.panhistoria.com. I really love to write collaborative fiction. Lately it’s been incredibly hard to find the time to do it. In fact my whole movement towards going slow and being present in the moment has really just revolved around one thing: I don’t find the time to be playful and write like I used to. Problem is that I didn’t realize this until about thirty minutes ago.

My community site, Pan Historia, is all about being playful. Collaborative fiction has few lofty ideals. It’s not striving for acclaim and publication beyond the publication of being online where people can share and read, or the acclaim of your friends and co-writers. It’s the writers version of reentering childhood where make believe is the order of the day, and playing dress up is all you have to think about.

For me, of course, as site owner and developer, Pan has developed into a much more serious business – in fact – a business. I have been letting that get in my way. My life is just more busy than it was a few years ago. That’s a fact that won’t go away. I have a relationship to maintain (an enjoyable distraction!), I have a full time job because during these tough economic times I can’t get away with less, and I live in beautiful part of the world that demands I enjoy time outdoors. These are not bad things, and yet I have been letting them freak me out because it has become harder and harder to juggle the different areas of my life and make them all work together.

It’s time to stop battling it. It’s time to take my own advice: go slow, breathe, cook my own food, write for pleasure, and be present in the moment. I don’t have to spend every moment doing something productive. I don’t have to be a marketing DIY pundit. I don’t even have to write in this blog if I don’t want to. I have many blessings in my life, but I need to pay attention to them, remember the job, and be playful. I’ll simply get more done that way – without even trying. Because I’m not working: I’m playing.

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The Slow Progress Report

The Tortoise and the HareI resolved to slow down on January 31st. We’re well into March and I’m still no master of the art of taking it slow and easy. The tortoise would still run the race and I’m still a bit like that hare: rush, rush, rush, crash. The road to the finish line is paved with good intentions, but we don’t always come in first. That said I can definitely state that it’s not a waste of time to slow down. I think today I’ll try not to gulp my lunch so that I send burning cheese down my shirt front and burn the roof of my mouth. Easier said than done considering my lunch, today, will fall on a ten minute break. Not burning my mouth or incurring another dry cleaning bill to get the oil stains out of my shirt are both positive results – if I can swing them – of slowing down.

In what ways do you believe you could see some results if you slowed your own life down? If you took the time to prepare your own food from good ingredients you might not only see a result in increased health but perhaps increased pleasure and satisfaction? Maybe taking meals with your family instead of eating in front of the computer or TV might increase the value of your loved ones in your life. Don’t let time run away from you. You might have a paper to write, an exam to study for, or just trying to fit all the stuff you want to do between the times you have to punch the time clock, but think how much more energized you’ll approach those tasks if you had some good relaxation or pleasure between?

I got a good night’s sleep, but I didn’t sleep in. I got up early. I drank coffee. I didn’t rush into my tasks. I allowed my brain to catch up with me, and then I wrote this morning. Man, that felt good. It wasn’t a marathon writing session, but it was a productive one. Then I made a nice breakfast that a hobbit would be proud of (it involved mushrooms). It so energized me that… oh look, I’m writing a blog post even and it’s not even 9:30 a.m. I still have time to take a nice hot shower and dress for the job. Of course it helps that I start late today. Tomorrow it’s just going to be: up, coffee, fire up the brain, breakfast, shower, dress, drive – but I’ll take my time and be ready to start on the job with all synapses firing. Taking it slow doesn’t necessarily mean not doing stuff. We all still have to do our things. Life is not something that will wait for you, or rather not too long. But taking your time, getting in your relaxation, and focusing more should lead to greater productivity and creativity rather than less.

Avoid that heart attack. Take your time.


Start Some Slow Connections

Four days into my resolution to go slower in my life, take a little more time over my actions, and chew experience like it was a meal by Bobby Flay, I’m seeing only the most intangible of results, and yet… I do feel better. I seem to be just a bit more relaxed, and just a little less stressed. As a result that is highly desirable, but, of course, like with anything I want more. I’m not beating myself over the head for my lack of writing, instead focusing on the positives that I have achieved by taking tasks one bite at a time.

The biggest obstacle is going slower at work. Around me my coworkers are rush rush rushing while their clients rush even faster; everyone falling all over themselves to get more done, seem more efficient, get onto the next task. With the bathwater of apparent inefficiency goes the baby of connection. Exchanges are superficial. Even evaluations tend to quick catch phrases that are modern shorthand to get to the emotional heart of something without actually doing the foundation work that should proceed it. Things get broken; other things get neglected. Sometimes what gets neglected is anything meaningful at all. We’re not on this planet to provide services or sell things. We’re here to live each our single life and hopefully in the course of that life achieve an experience of richness through our personal achievements and meaningful relationships.

You can’t have a meaningful relationship with a person in a quick and hurried uber-efficient conversation or in a five second tweet. I’m not suggesting that every client, every customer, every time you pump gas, that you stop and make friends, but certainly with those people that you touch throughout your day, day after day whether it be family, coworkers, village, or just your tribe, that you take it slow, savor it a little, and by doing so making some connections that can enrich your life and your work.

And don’t worry about the time wasted. Once you truly take everything slower with more focus there will be less time wasted, less mistakes and mishaps, and less time spent cleaning up the split milk. By slow I mean deliberate.


Slow Down Slow Before You End Up Like a Bug on a Windshield

The Tortoise and the HareIf I had sat down to write this piece yesterday morning it would have been very different. As it was, since I was forced to wait by virtue of being at work, I had time to ruminate for many an hour on this simple thought: people need to slow the heck down. Everyone is running too fast. Certainly they are in my neck of the woods. By the way how do woods get necks anyway? After ruminating, chewing the cud as it were, I was handed a magazine called Good. I haven’t seen this magazine before but I bought this issue immediately because the cover proclaimed: Slow Down; perspectives on a smarter, better, and slower future. Leafing through the articles on driving slower, Slow Food, and building things to last reflects many of the thoughts that had been tumbling like stones in my brain, slowly being polished in anticipation of this essay.

Was it serendipity or fate that I was thinking ‘Slow Down’ just before someone handed me a magazine of the same thought? I think it was synergistic. It’s time we all start slowing right down before we grind to a messy halt altogether. Drive too fast and you risk crashing. Oh yeah, you think you have to get somewhere in a hurry? You need to save a few minutes of your precious on the go multitasking lifestyle? You save no time when you end up in the emergency room, or on the mortician’s steely slab. Worse yet you save no time when you put someone else there. Are you saving time when you rush through all of life’s experiences to get to the next one? We’re choking on our fast food lunches. We’re giving ourselves ulcers and cancer and diabetes. We’re speeding by so fast, all so we can get to the grave just that bit faster. And fast people are cranky people. Trust me. I have to deal with them every day at work and on the road.

Life expectancy might be higher than ever, but I have a feeling that the humble farmer of a century or two ago, plowing the soil, moving through the seasons at a sedate rhythm, even if he lived less years than you will, had a longer life for he was there for almost every minute of it, rather than rushing through them so that they die like bugs on your windshield.

I’ve looked at some of the other sites and articles about slowing down, and most of them seem to focus on relaxing more and doing less. I’m not necessarily going to say you should stop reading your email, or spend more time in bed, but I am going to say that I am determined to do everything with a little more deliberation, a lot less rush, and always allow time for stopping, smelling the roses, and just plain breathing while I absorb the experiences I’m having, instead of always projecting my thoughts into the future, ignoring the now. I’m going to cook my food, eat less of it on the run, spend time in the garden, write without distractions, drive at the speed limit, not honk or cut people off, or drive so fast through the pouring rain I take out someone’s beloved pet. I promise to appreciate the moments of my life. No matter how I do the math I’m at least halfway through my life and many days, weeks, months, and maybe years of it I have spent in a speedy blur where I can’t remember what I did or why I did it. I promise not to waste what’s left. I’m going to slow down slow.

Join me in slowing down on my new Facebook page: Slow Down Slow – let’s see if we can start spreading the word and making a difference to the quality of life. I’ll also be including other articles on slowing down, multitasking less, and related topics here on my blog in the future.