My choice to slow down at work: Pure gold

My choice to slow down at work: Pure gold

My choice to slow down at work: Pure gold

A few years ago, I made the commitment to myself to be on time for meetings and appointments and to stop my pattern of always running late. Simultaneously, I also committed to take time to get from one place to another instead of rushing around.

I made the commitment to myself to slow down...

Literally slowing down my pace meant that I needed to plan my day to allow the space to go from one place to the next and to complete tasks. I started booking meetings with a space in between instead of back-to-back, so that I would have time to walk from one meeting to another and also have a bit of time to 'clear my head' between one topic and the next.

Just walking more slowly gave me more time and space within myself to prepare for what was coming next, and also to fully complete and let go of what had just been finished.

Letting go meant that, when I knew a task or topic needed more work later, I was still able to feel a sense of completion with it for that moment. I trusted that I would get to the next step as and when needed, and with this understanding, I could choose to stop thinking about it and focus energy on what was coming up next. In this way, I was more present with what I was doing – and actually more productive and more effective at work.

Slowing down, and with that giving myself space to stay connected with who I am, also allowed me more time to interact with co-workers I met in the halls. Imagine that I could actually have meaningful conversations with the people I worked with every day without feeling rushed or distracted!

As I started living in this way, amazing things began to happen.

In the space that I now had there was more space for me to be with myself as the day went on. The space allowed me to be present with what I was doing. There is a quality of inner presence that develops when in each part of the day there is simply the space to be with yourself.

I stopped at people’s workstations and:

  • Asked how they were
  • Thanked them for something
  • Shared appreciation for something they did

Or simply started a conversation about nothing at all to do with work.

People noticed that I seemed:

  • Less stressed
  • Less hectic, and more open and approachable.

And I did feel less stressed and less 'run by time' (or the seeming lack of it). My thoughts were much clearer and I was able to focus much more on the topic at hand because I had given myself some time, even just a few minutes, to let go of what had been completed and bring myself more to the present matter. With that I could give space to bring all of me to what’s next.

In slowing down, I created space to actually connect with the people I work with. It was the first time that I allowed myself to 'see' my colleagues for who they truly were, without the interference of racing thoughts about what I wanted to say next, or needed from them.

What felt like a small and simple shift in how I planned my day has had enormous impacts, not just for me and the quality of my work, but for the people I worked with as well.

And it was humbling to understand how rushing around actually put people off, and in my case kept a distance between me and my colleagues that did not support productive relationships.

I’ve come to realise that slowing down at work does not mean doing things more ‘slowly’ or not getting work done on time. Slowing down involves a commitment to not rushing and not being at numerous places at once in my mind. It’s about being present in the here and now – present with myself, the people I interact with and with the task at hand.

Slowing down at work has been gold!

It is a very important beginning for a deeper presence... when your mind and your body are together in what you are doing. This is called conscious presence. But it’s not just about being present – for that in itself is not enough. It is the quality of your presence that matters. And that quality comes from connection with your body and especially with your breath.

A supportive first step in slowing down is by connecting with yourself via your own breath with the Gentle Breath Meditation®. This will support the natural rhythm of your body and you might be surprised what will unfold from there.

Filed under

ConnectionProductivityStillnessTime managementWork stress

  • By Julie Goodhart, BA Psychology; SHRM-SCP, PHR

    Lover of working with people from all walks of life. Inspiring others to bring their amazing and unique qualities to purpose in the workplace.