We have a habit of being impatient in life. Crossing roads before the little man turns green, wanting our lift to go express and avoid the hassle of stopping at other floors and wondering why in the hell we can't get our coffee now instead of standing in this stupid queue... Don't people know I have somewhere to be??
Today, it seems like we
get what we want faster than ever before. The world is transparent.
Information travels at a scarily fast pace. We're bombarded by emails,
traditional news, Tweets, blogs and more. Your personal life is
intertwined with your business life so switching off is becoming harder.
The lines are increasingly blurred.
What much of this leads to is
your brain racing at a million miles an hour. It's quite common for me
to lie down at the end of a long day and begin re-living some of the key
events of the day and even starting to think about what's ahead. And
more often than not, that leads to a restless night's sleep and an
unhappy girlfriend the next morning.
So why add fuel to the fire of an already inferno-like thought process? How do you slow things down?
are a number of thoughts out there on how to do it and ultimately it
will be a mix of different tactics that might work for you. Justin
Babet, CEO of JobAdvisor had a look at ways you can regain the focus you've lost. In another post on LinkedIn, Tim Otis talked about his own personal journey in putting on the brakes.
me, slowing down has been so incredibly powerful in helping me control
my thinking (and indeed my day and week) and that all starts in the
morning; taking a small and simple step to keep my pace in check and
mind relaxed and open.
The idea actually came from a yearly
de-brief session organised by a very inspirational woman I work for. We
heard from a great leader about how he had trained himself to wait for
the little man to turn green before crossing the road on his way to
work. Avoiding J-walking and maybe waiting another 20 seconds before
continuing his journey.
There's a lot to learn in that.
20 seconds you stand to save by being impatient really don't matter. In
fact, if you think about the times you've done something similar today -
maybe it was crossing the road before the lights changed or having an
imaginary race with someone to the lift - there's probably little you
actually achieved in the time you saved. Instead, that little event and
change to your process has worked you up, even if it's on a subconscious
level. You may have become irrritated or disrupted a calm period in
your thought process because you were too focused on the little victory
scored by throwing caution to the wind and crossing a dangerous
today's world where everything moves so fast, taking the time to slow
ourselves down, even if it is for 20 seconds, can do amazing things for
our overall wellbeing. Just ask yourself - what does that 20 seconds do
for me? Will it secure my favourite bowl in the office kitchen for my
cereal or allow me to continue my thoughts around a party I'm planning
for my best friend or a cool business idea I had.
It's amazing how
when you start your day calmer, when you remove the negative tension
caused by the irrational rushing we create, how much more centred you
are for the day ahead. I've found myself smile more, come in with a more
positive energy and an associated "Good morning!" to my team, all
because the 20 seconds have helped me slow down, keep me calm and my
So next time you're looking at the red man, ask
yourself if that 20 seconds really matters. Of course, to balance the
argument some would say the 20 seconds is critical and would reference
Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. But then that's a movie and we're
talking about you.
What's helped you slow down and stay focused? Would love to know your thoughts.
credit: Tim Mullen