You might think the best and most productive worker in the room is the one balancing 17 tasks at once and zooming up and down the halls, but you’d be wrong! It turns out that sometimes the smartest and most successful people are the ones who ease up on the throttle, turn down the pace, and work more slowly and mindfully.
Here are just a few ways how a slower approach to work can pay off hugely in the long run.
1. You need more time than you think… to think.
It’s hard to do your best cognitive and creative work in the frenzy of the workplace. What if that frenzy were just… pointless, though? If you start to think “slow,” you’ll give yourself time to ease the pressure, get creative, let your ideas simmer until they’re ready to emerge. Instead of jumping rapidly—and inefficiently—from task to task, try deliberately slowing down. You might be amazed at how much time you actually have in a given day when working effectively instead of in a frenzy.
2. Your rational brain kicks in.
You’ll be more confident in your ideas and decisions when you make them mindfully. Move away from your super fast automatic or “sympathetic” nervous system and those knee-jerk reactions, and towards the slower, more logical “parasympathetic” nervous system. You’ll get out of mental loops and autopilot and come to more logical decisions about which you can be more confident.
3. Your listening skills improve.
Are you frantically tuning people out, smiling and nodding because you’re just too busy to put down your task and listen? Curb this common behavior and learn to truly process the ideas and concerns of others. You never know when this might help you find the missing piece to a personal puzzle, or gain more respect and traction among your coworkers.
4. You’ll make fewer mistakes.
Working this way, slowing your pace to be more meticulous and measured, means that you’ll make fewer mistakes. And the mistakes you do make will be much easier to rectify. You might even learn something and have the time and space to internalize that lesson before moving on.
5. Your brain will remember how to act.
This kind of practice is also great because it will eventually train your brain to slow down and work this way automatically. Soon it won’t be a project, but just the way you work.
6. You can eliminate unnecessary work.
Sometimes busy work is just that… busy. Working slowly can help you realize which tasks are not necessary. Save yourself and your coworkers from extraneous work. Don’t create extra tasks for yourself or others when you could concentrate on the projects that really matter.
7. You’ll learn to let go of stress.
Instead of chewing your nails down to the quick and tapping your feet annoyingly while waiting for coworkers to finish off their tasks, concentrate on the work on your desk. Do it right, rather than fast. And instead of concentrating on getting everything done, try working just on the task at hand and getting it done right. Relax a little and understand that it’s just not possible to leave work every day with a blank to-do list.
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