Working. Fast and Slow. Why I’m choosing to work slowly.
It’s near the end of August and most of my clients are away on holiday. It’s the time of year where I make the most of my time. I choose to work SLOWLY.
We often pride ourselves on the speed at which we can work; being really responsive to meet our customer, manager or clients’ needs. And of course – working at pace can be essential- (and I sometimes enjoy the speed and pressure – must come from my days at Topshop where it seemed the biggest success criteria was whether or not someone could deal with the pace – which was incredibly fast!)
But it’s not sustainable to be doing it all the time. We need to find windows where we can slow it down – and the last 2 weeks in August are typically mine.
My morning starts with a 5k local run to wake myself up, then I return home for some mindful meditation. A cup of coffee, my phone turned off, my email notifications off – and I sit down to work. Slowly.
I feel focused, mindful and motivated just writing those words. It sets me up to carry out some quality work. I’m designing new training content so this is critical.
So what’s going on here?
Many of you will be familiar with Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” Put in my very simple terms our brain has 2 operating functions: System 1 is fast, intuitive and emotional, based on creating short-cuts from our own lived experience. When I’m in this mode of working – I’m fast, I’m reactive and I’m making quick decisions. As these decisions are based solely on my own experience, my thinking becomes binary – good/bad, right/wrong, amazing/terrible. And this level of thinking, whilst seeing me through a ton of work – is not focused on quality, intellect, critical thinking, creativity even.
I need to access System 2 thinking for this: slower, deliberate, logical. By slowing things down, the quality of my work goes up. And it’s satisfying. My thinking feels wider and deeper; I consider more options, which enhances everything!
I’m very fortunate to have 2 weeks now to build a routine that supports System 2 thinking. I appreciate not everyone has this! So here’s my challenge to you.
- How can you factor in some slow working next week?
- Can you diarise some slow working windows to carry out some quality work?
- Can you book in a 1:1 with yourself where you can lock yourself away, without your phone as a distraction? (Btw – a check on your Instagram feed takes you back into System 1 thinking!)
When we slow down, we can listen more deeply to what are minds and bodies are telling us.
Paradoxically, you’ll probably find you are more productive by doing this and work feels more enjoyable which is how it should be. What do you think? Will you give it a go? Let me know below – your experience might inspire someone!