Slow Down

slow-down1There was a moment a few weeks ago when I came very close to standing in the middle of the office and yelling “SLOW DOWN!”

I didn’t. Because branch directors aren’t supposed to have temper tantrums.

But you can bet I thought it. I thought it as loud as I could. I thought it in the direction of my staff, and my boss, and her boss, and her bosses’ boss…

Because seriously, people. It’s not all urgent. Some of it may not even be all that important.

Of course, I’m a fine one to talk– the self-confessed queen of the “to do” list. But I’m learning.

Slowly.

(See what I did there?)

It took a few weeks of quietly beating myself up to finally stop feeling guilty for taking an unplanned hiatus from this blog while I was busy teaching a course. But I’m over that now. The guilt, that is. The course has one more class session and a lot of papers to mark.

I’ll be busy for a while. Truthfully, I’ll always be busy. In my family we’re wired for busy. But I’m gradually learning to be more selective about my busy-ness. I’m learning, for example, that I can actually say no to things that other people expect me to do. (And actually, Thanksgiving went very nicely even without me producing a turkey and a gazillion home-made pies.)

I went to a restorative yoga class last week. I haven’t done yoga of any kind for years decades. It was amazing. There was a moment, about an hour into the 90 minute class, when the whirring in my head stilled completely. Then, when the instructor directed us to gradually come out of the pose, a little voice in my head came out of nowhere and silently screamed “NOOOOOOO–I don’t ever want to leave this state of relaxation.” I’m going back to Yoga North today to sign up for more classes.

The first thing I noticed after last week’s yoga session was how much more energy I had. I came home from yoga and launched into a handful of minor home repairs that I had been avoiding for weeks because I was “too busy” to do them. They took mere minutes. In other words, I always did have the time to do them, but my mind was too busy to know that.

Ironically, I’m more productive when I slow down. But the secret is not to slow down with the goal of being more productive, because that won’t stop the brain from spinning. You have to slow down with the goal of slowing down.

If nothing else, try slowing down for just the 19 minutes it takes to listen to Carl Honore’s TED talk.

 

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