Based on text by Patrick Buggy
Slowing Down in the Moment
Slowing down means letting go of the urge to do more. And in doing so, shifting your attention to quality and effectiveness.
In practice, the basic process looks like this:
- Notice when you experience the thought “I need to do more or else [consequence]…”
- Examine if that’s really the case. Do you know for certain that doing more is the answer?
- Let go of the urge to do more, and instead, proceed mindfully by slowing down.
- Slow down to re-ground yourself and consider possible paths forward.
- Prime yourself for action.
- Move forward in the best way: with clarity, intention, and energy.
Not sure what “slowing down” actually means?
It varies depending on where you are and what you’re doing!
To get your mind going, check out the 8 approaches below. They work well together, but this isn’t a fixed sequence. Treat them as options to experiment with.
8 Ways to Slow Down (and Get Better Results)
- Physically slow down. Changing your physical body is a great way to shift your psychology. Start by sitting still. Put your devices away. Breathe deeply for a few minutes. Sit in meditation. Or, go for a walk outside. Anywhere from 5-20 minutes can create a profound shift.
- Get out of your head and into your body: Re-ground yourself by directing your attention towards the physical sensations in your body. Observe how the sensations ebb, flow, and change over time. By noticing what’s there without judgment, you can stay more intentional.
- Recall the nature of your thoughts: The thoughts crossing your mind are just thoughts, not universal truths. Think of them as suggestions, or possibilities. Question them. Is this thought actually true?
- Consider alternate paths forward: What do you want here? How have you been approaching it? What are some different ways you could approach it?
- Set a new intention: Having slowed down and considered your approach, what do you want to do now? In the big-picture, what’s most important?
- Write about it: Thoughts move quickly in the mind. Noting them down on paper slows things down so you can see them more clearly. Grab a pen and some paper and write thoughts as they surface in your mind. (Without judging them or needing to do something about it.)
- Prime yourself for quality action: Before taking action, consider: “What would it look like to move forward in the best way?” For me, this often involves taking a break to shift my state. (e.g. Exercising, having some tea, switching my physical location.) Creating a deliberate shift, even a small one, helps with letting go of the previous approach, and orienting to your new intention.
- Treat it as an experiment: It can be intimidating to try new approaches. Instead of worrying about what will happen if it doesn’t work, treat it as an experiment. You’ll never know what will happen unless you give it a go!
It’s important to note that slowing down is NOT about making things perfect. Instead, it’s about improving your effectiveness, even by a little bit.
Beware of the trap of overthinking your approach. If you find yourself trying to get things perfect, shift your focus to marginal gains. “How could I be 5 or 10% more effective?”