Have you ever had a week that you hit 3pm each day without realizing lunch was a good idea? Or that you never saw sunshine from your desk? When we’re running from meeting to meeting and while in those meetings answering emails and chats that are on separate topics, at some point, I’m pretty sure ours brains explode. It also quickly leaves space for us to make mistakes, like sending an email to the wrong person or sharing a document that makes little sense.
In order to gain more time, it’s important to know the way we perceive time also changes as we age and it’s closely linked to how many details we take in. According to David Eagleman in a New Yorker article:
The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. “This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older,” Eagleman said – why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.
By taking a moment to slow down our day and experience life, we’re not becoming less productive, we’re actually creating space for prioritization and gaining control of our working hours. So the next time you’re feeling like the day is getting away from you – that’s the best time to be stepping away and taking a breath.
Here are some reasons you should slow down (and tips on how!)
- Improve creativity – stepping away gives your brain time to marinate thoughts!
- Nab some quick clarity – try reviewing (or creating) a to-do list. Let that guide what you really need to do today.
- Lower your stress levels – try taking a deep breath, or maybe a quick 5-minute meditation. That email can wait 5 minutes. Unless it’s directions on how to complete a currently happening open-heart surgery. If it is, please write the email.
- Control multi-tasking by being a single-tasker – there are very few people who can truly multi-task. I’m talking only 2%. Seriously. When you have a few tasks at hand, try giving one of them your all. See how that feels. Pretty good, right?
- Block you-time – set aside 30 minutes every day in your calendar at work. If it gets booked over, move it. But always have those 30 minutes. It’ll help you with overflow from other meetings and give you a chance to go get lunch and get out there in the world.
- Take it all in – when you’re not at your desk, either walking or driving to work, really take in the sights. Enjoy the little silly moments in your commute rather than firing off emails. Emails will be there when you get into the office, and you’ll have a clear head when you get there.
- Say no – eliminate commitments, move deadlines, step away from meetings that aren’t helpful. It’ll give you more time to focus on the things you truly need to do.
Good luck slowing down!