I like to go fast. I like a fast-paced schedule with a lot of action and results. Fast has its place, but sometimes you have to slow down to see what you can’t see going fast. I’ve found productivity has more to do with going slow than going fast. Here’s how to slow down to go far.
Fast Ignores Tough Questions
For a few years, I was traveling 110 nights a year for work and another 20-30 nights with my family. And I was running my business, managing people, and writing articles, courses, and books. I dialed in my productivity and got a lot done.
There were fleeting moments, however, when things would slow enough for me to face questions like,
- How long can I keep this up?
- What am I doing all this for?
I couldn’t stop to think about questions like these. The whole system depended on continually feeding it with more activity to keep it running fast.
And, if I slow down for a minute, more nagging internal questions pop up:
- Is this how I really want to live?
- Is this the most important contribution we can make?
- Is this how I choose to treat people?
- Am I being my best self?
Going fast, I can excuse myself from reflecting on these questions “because I’m doing the best I can.” And who can criticize me since I’m so busy and getting so much done?
Maybe like me, you’ve built a system that depends on fast. But fast isn’t going to get you where you want to go. You’ve got to slow down, reflect on these tough questions, plan, and execute.
Slow Down To See What You Can’t See Going Fast
Slowing down reveals what we can’t see going fast. I drove out of my neighborhood daily for two years and didn’t notice a small beautiful stream at the end of our road. I discovered it the first time I walked by it. Even though I had driven past dozens of times, I didn’t notice the stream until I slowed down.
When I slowed my work down, I noticed that when I worked fast my efforts were scattered, while when I worked slow my efforts were more focused. I gained focus by addressing tough questions.
I used to think that fast equaled far. Now, I’m convinced that slow produces focus, which results in far.
The real key here is focus, not fast or slow. But the only way to get focus is to go slow.
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