Slow Down to Increase Productivity (special guest post by Sacred West)

We rush so fast we miss it all. Everyone knows how busy we all are nowadays. The TrackSuit CEO wants to shoot for the stars and still spend his entiremeditating-office.jpg life with his family, and somehow this seems to me the most reasonable thing in the world. How to achieve this?

As so often, the answer begins inside ourselves.

When I was a kid, rushing around hither and thither, my mother would tell me to slow down because, “more haste, less speed,” using the old British proverb that takes notice of fools getting nowhere in a hurry.

Carl Honore has written a book called “In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed”. I haven’t read it yet, so this is not one of TrackSuit’s famous Reviews. But I have read the Amazon reviews to it, and here’s an excerpt from one review that made me think of TrackSuit’s readers:

The chapter I most appreciated was the one on parenting. Children do not understand the need for our fast pace, and what they need more than anything is our time. This book made me realize the number of times I tell my daughter to hurry up/we’re late for school/we need to go now/blah blah blah. I do not want my daughter to grow up like so many kids in our culture: overprogrammed, overscheduled, and stressed out.

The problem of speediness impacts us as Americans today – while the rest of the world watches, amazed – but the Europeans aren’t off the hook completely, because this business of moving too fast is actually a part of human nature that has been observed from ancient times.

Buddhist practice revolves around “mindfulness”, which involves holding your mind in attention to the very moment as it’s happening. You can do this by returning your awareness to each and every breath, even in the middle of any action.

And it’s a funny thing about slowing down in this way: it’s the way to move quickly also.

Mipham Rinpoche, a Buddhist teacher, says in one of his books or videos that when we get in a crisis we start to panic and get speedy, whereas if we would force ourselves to relax we could actually generate the extra energy needed to deal with the situation. Practitioners of the martial arts know all about this too.

There is much more I could say about this, but we have plenty of time 🙂

What do you think? Could it be that slowing down allows us to get more done?

Read more at Sacred West about Success, Buddhism and living and succeeding in modern America.

If you’re interested in writing a guest post please Contact Me.

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6 responses to “Slow Down to Increase Productivity (special guest post by Sacred West)

  1. I definitely agree. I think the biggest part of this is partitioning your life – staying in the moment and focussed on what you’re doing right then and there.

    As for your point about not being able to think in a crisis, Malcolm Gladwell touches upon this issue in his book Blink – that rapid heartbeats and adrenaline rushes distort the perceptions of frightened people. In fact, what differentiates ‘experts’ who are used to dealing with crisis-like situations – such as cops who have to decide fast whether to shoot at a suspect or not – is that they are physiologically alert, but reasonably so.

  2. thetracksuitceo

    Sacred West,
    You always help us bring the spiritual into our day-to-day lives. Thank you for the thoughtful post!

    TheSush:
    I like your point about people who deal with crisis often. Do you think our initial instinct to panic is our human nature or do you think it comes from a lack of true instinct, the animal instincts of our ancestors that we’ve gradually forgotten?

  3. Tracksuitceo:
    I think it is our natural instinct to panic when crisis arises. I think the animal instincts of our ancestors have evolved from responding to crisis such as huge animals chasing us (I apologize for my ignorance of how it really was in the ‘old’ days, but this is how I imagine it) to our modern day crises.

    In crises, we forget about everything else (sometimes eating/sleeping/etc.) and just focus on the at hand. I think what determines how well people respond to these kinds of situations depends on their preparation for it (in terms of having dealt with similar situations) and their own personality.

    By the way, I would highly recommend reading “Blink” – it’s a wonderful book about how we make split-second decisions and the ‘power of thinking without thinking’.

  4. personally I have a suspicion that our ancestors in the wild didn’t panic in the way we do – they were too quickly dead if they did.

    I think they felt authentic fear and had no busy-ness of mind to split them off from what they were feeling.

    they were more accurate to the moments they were in

    Sush, thanks for the tip, I’ll have to take a look at Blink

    and I definitely agree, we can train for this, it’s the core of practice in many disciplines, training to be present
    -sw

  5. I’m thinking I should get my boss that book.

  6. thetracksuitceo

    thesush and sacredwest: I appreciate the discussion of the “old days”. Sacredwest wrote a guest post for me about jogging to increase productivity in his professional life. Our ancestors only ran when they were chasing something or being chased by something. It was when they needed to be the most focused and I think we draw on that when we run or jog.

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