April 15, 2019

101: Slowing down

How many times in the past week or two have you answered the question, "How are you?" with, "Super busy," or "Swamped at work"? By continuously spinning on a corporate hamster wheel – and with your subordinates following suit – it means not as much work is getting done as it may seem. Here are ways to slow down, focus better and jumpstart productivity.

Acknowledge you can't get it all done. This is a freeing method restoring some sense of control for those of us who may be squeezing in extra tasks and rushing through quick lunches at our desks. "Even using the word 'busy' adds to your anxiety, which reverberates through your body. That jolt you feel is your brain's amygdala reacting to the fear of not getting everything done, in the same way primitive humans reacted to the threat of a saber-toothed tiger. According to your modern brain, there's no difference between the two scenarios, and your creativity is suppressed as a result," writes Deborah Goldstein of Forbes.com.

Clear the way for clarity. Inc.com's Andrew Thomas suggests blocking out an hour a week for a check in, where you take a deep breath and review the past week or so. "Reflect on your intentions and observe the challenges or opportunities showing up in front of you. Think about what's working, what isn't working, and where you can focus your energy next week," whether that's multitasking, more meeting preparation or more pro-active recruiting.

Make way for mindful decisions. TheJobNetwork.com's Peter Jones says managers and leaders will have more confidence in their decisions if they are mindful decisions. It's a process of getting away from knee-jerk reactions and moving toward choices made with the "slower, more logical 'parasympathetic' nervous system," he said. The rational brain kicks in, mental loops are much less likely – and good decisions result.


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