You tell yourself Ugh I have so much work to do today—there’s just no way I can squeeze in a workout…
… you end up wasting hours scrolling through Reddit. Clearly a workout would have been fine.
You tell yourself Ok, deadline in 8 hours. I just can’t believe how I could procrastinate so damn much—I had 2 weeks. I just need to sit my ass down, stop being an idiot, and just get this stupid thing done…
… you proceed to somehow rationalize checking YouTube— *just gotta get it out of my system —*and by the time you resurface the deadline is now 4 hours away.
You tell yourself (after waking up cold in the middle of the night)… I need to put on a t-shirt.
… you proceed to put it on backwards. Crap. Every time.
What do all these scenarios have in common?
Well, for one, they’re all things I’ve done a thousand times over. Especially that last one. The odds are supposed to be 50/50, but I swear my record’s gotta be like 90/10 for getting it wrong.
More importantly, all of them could have been avoided. Not by being more motivated. Not by having more willpower or grit or determination. Not through a fancy method or an app. Not even by transforming into the better person you dream of being.
No. They could have been avoided by going slower.
Taking a moment to feel for the shirt tag takes time—it’s the slower way to go about putting on a shirt in the dark. But in the end, if you sum up all the minutes spent taking off, rotating and putting back on a shirt, you’d for sure conclude it’s actually the faster way.
Taking a minute to recoup after procrastinating on something; taking a second to allow for a little compassion and understanding, to exhale and remind yourself that you’re human and humans do illogical and short-sighted things; all that stuff burns a lot of time. So does going for a walk and returning to your desk without any inclination to force it; fully content with just sitting there mindfully observant of all the inner chaos; allowing the stress and panic and frustration and resistance do its thing; let it twirl around your mental space, then wash out.
Finally, not trying to cram an unrealistic amount of work in a day; taking the time for yourself and for your physical and mental wellbeing; that’s definitely the slow way at getting stuff done—but only if you make the assumption that [productivity = butt in seat × number of hours]. Yet, if you look at exercise and other positive lifestyle habits as an investment, one that slowly compounds returns in increased focus, creativity and those rarified ‘hey! I feel like working now!’ mental tokens to be redeemed the next time you sit at your desk, then you could argue that the slow way is really the fastest way to success.
So, if I could leave you with one lingering idea; one little proverb for you to pull out from your mental wallet whenever you catch yourself rushing through life, thinking bah, I don’t need to check for that friggen shirt tag, it’ll be fine —it would be this:
Go slow, to go fast.
If you want to go fast; if you want that desired outcome, your dream life, to arrive in the shortest time possible, the fastest way is the slowest way.
Go slow… to go fast.