Why slowing down is vital to business success

| February 28, 2017

Ever feel like life is moving too fast? Do you wish you had more time to work ‘on’ your business? The great news is you can … you just need to slow down.

In business there is a lot to do. Whether it is your own business or you are working within a company, there is always an endless list, people expecting a lot of you and a mountain of tasks vying for your attention. Whether we like it or not the situation is not going away and if future predictions are correct it is not slowing down, in fact, strap in because we are in for a long and fast ride.

Unfortunately, if we are finding it hard to keep up there is no big red button in front of us to press when things are getting too overwhelming. Instead we keep persisting with working late, taking work home and catching up with work on weekends just in an attempt to get the basics done.

Five years into running my first business I can remember the moment I realised life’s speed was winning and I wasn’t keeping up. After having my second baby I continued to run a successful child specialist health clinic, not taking maternity leave, still seeing my clients, juggling mum life, work life and everyone else’s life, I had everything under control. Or so I thought.

The moment of realisation came when I was standing in reception in my new business premises acquired after significant growth. I was on the phone with a line of staff and clients waiting for my attention. My baby was happily perched on my hip following her sleep in her portable cot in the hall way of the practice. I was wearing a neck brace while going through tests to see why I kept falling over. This was my normal. That was until I looked around and like time had frozen I had realised the picture I was seeing was not the picture I had for me or my business. Life was going too fast, too many people wanted my attention and I was completely overstimulated, something had to stop … I knew I had to slow down or something, most likely me was going to break.

Constant connectivity to people, technology and our workloads is resulting in our work and life becoming overwhelming, making it hard to ever switch off from work.. Our frenetic pace, racing from one meeting to the next and one client to the next, is affecting our ability to take time out, slow down, switch off and refuel. With our bodies and minds constantly ‘switched on’, our health and wellbeing are increasingly paying the price. We are in a state of chronic overconnection, overwhelm and overstimulation. This is a growing global problem, and one we must address before it gets out of hand.

Doing more by doing less
To achieve more we do not have to keep pushing ourselves to do more; in fact, we are capable of achieving more through doing less. How? By slowing down. Through taking our foot off the pedal we are allowing ourselves three important gains that will improve our motivation for work while improving our productivity and creativity.

  1. When we slow down we can take a big metaphorical step back from our lives and see what is happening for our health, our relationships and our goals. When we are too bogged down in our to do list or our heads are looking down constantly at our devices our field of view is narrowed and we miss the opportunities that are right in front of us.
  2. Renewed energy. Ever tried sprinting a marathon? It is impossible. Our bodies are not designed to go full throttle for long periods before something falls apart. When we slow down we provide our bodies the time and attention it needs to boost its resistance to illness and increase its energy renewal. Slowing down is necessary if we want to keep moving forward with energy and stamina.
  3. Sharper focus. Not a morning person? Then it could be holding you back in business. Early morning provides up with the peak time in our attention and energy flow of the day allowing us to work on our biggest priorities with clear focus. Rising early also means a quiet house so you are starting your day slowly in the quietness of the day, meaning better creativity, better productivity and better results.

The great news is that switching off isn’t about doing more … it means doing less! Slowing down can feel like an impossible scenario when we lead such full lives. Focusing on the payoff of taking the time to stop and disconnect, will lead to better health, more energy, clearer thinking, and a renewed perspective on our work. Payoff’s anyone in business can afford.

Angela Lockwood
Angela Lockwood, is an Occupational Therapist whose retreats, corporate education programs and keynotes help organisations, schools and individuals prioritise their health and wellbeing. Angela is the author of Switch Off. How to find calm in a noisy world and The Power of Conscious Choice. To connect with Angela go to www.angelalockwood.com.au. and follow her on Twitter @angelockwood and Instagram @angelalockwood_.

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