How slowing down can take your life to the next level

27 thoughts on “How slowing down can take your life to the next level”

  1. I love taking naps! I usually try to head over to the local park on my lunch break and take a 20-30 minute nap in my car. It’s so funny how I’m one of the few people who leave the office at lunch time. Almost everyone else sits in front of their computer and works through lunch. I used to feel bad, but then I started to see people becoming burned out because all they do is work. Getting out of your environment and taking a quick nap is totally refreshing.

    I love your points about slowing down in general, though. It’s so hard to slow down sometimes, but posts like this help remind me that there’s really no rush. Doing something faster isn’t necessarily going to make it better. I constantly equate this to the workplace – there are tons of pressures to get more done as quickly as you can. At the end of the day, you have to remind yourself that it’s just a job.

    Great piece of writing, my good sir!

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Chris! I agree, naps in the middle of the day are just absolutely amazing. I usually end up just closing my eyes rather than actually falling asleep, but often that is enough for me to feel rejuvenated afterwards.

      It’s a shame that most companies out there would rather sacrifice quality for the sake of speed. Even with the volumes of research we have at our disposal that prove just how important rest and relaxation is for people – yes, even in the middle of the day – companies continue to hold steadfast that employees must not become too relaxed while at the office…lest they become unproductive.

      It’s ironic!

  2. This is so true, especially when it comes to work. Rushing and trying to complete tasks fasts usually leads to stress and mistakes. I like taking a step back which allows me to plan, make less moves, but still get the task done efficiently. I used to be a big napper (especially in college), but now the day job gets in the way. Sometimes on Sundays I’ll sneak a nap in, especially in the fall during football season.

  3. Right on! Being able to slow down is one of our big motivators toward early retirement. We can’t slow everything down just yet (man, how I’d love to be able to nap each day!), but we’re trying to take on newer “extracurriculars” to give ourselves chill time and avoid feeling fully scheduled. I’m also a big fan of taking a deep breath. If you can’t fully slow down, at least taking a deep breath gives you this little mini reset and meditation that pushes out some of that hurried, busy feeling and leads to better decision-making. Happy Monday!

    1. Yup, breathing techniques are a great alternative if you can’t nap during the day. I’ve tried these when I used to work in an office all day – they helped. It wasn’t quite the same thing as a nap, but it was close! 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness! I was just drafting a post on the Power of a Nap! I love naps so much and being in the office this week and nodding at my desk in the afternoons just reinforced the fact that I love napping and I am not meant to be in an office after lunch! Also, the great Winnie the Pooh quote applies here as well: “What I like doing best is Nothing.”
    “How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
    “Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.
    It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

  5. Unfortunately, in my case, slowing down is just a synonym for “procrastinating”. It does not make me more productive, but tends to start a vicious spiral of doing nothing for days or weeks, until I become incredibly stressed about it.
    Did not work for me in general, although I admit that thinking a lot about what you’re going to do has been more helpful to me in my projects, than jumping right into it.

    1. Hey Stockbeard – different people work in different ways, that’s for sure. I can see how slowing down a bit can, for some, give them an excuse to procrastinate. I suppose there is a fine line between slowing down / taking a step back and having the discipline to remain focused when you need to churn through some work. Nothing wrong with keeping a faster pace through life if that’s truly how you operate the best.

      Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  6. Well said.

    I’m incredibly jealous of my son and his daily naps… The only plus being I can actually get things done while he’s sleeping!

    Looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to take naps when I want!

  7. My wife and I also work from home which makes it much easier to slow down. As you said, no stressful commute. I used to get stuck in traffic and she used to get body-slammed getting in and out of Penn Station in New York.

    I read in your ‘renaissance’ that you came late to this way of life. I would say retiring from the day job at 36 is awesome. We all wish we knew then what we know now. But the main point is you do know now, and you’re doing something about it. Congrats!

  8. I am totally going to pull a Mr SSC and quote some lyrics…. but there is a phrase from a song I like to sing when things get crazy, I’ll sing it to myself when I am biking, or if the kids need a ‘reset’ I’ll pick them up and dance with them and sing “Slow down, you move too fast… you’ve got to make this moment last” Which, I just found out when Googling who sang it – is not the correct lyrics (its ‘make this morning last’) by Simon and Garfunkel. Anyways – that is the closet thing I have to a mantra.

    I still like to make quick decisions (except the latest one about buying a car) because I am a big believer in going with my gut instinct. But, I still fight the urge to be busy all the time… I’ve gotten better with time, but it goes against the last 25+ years of how I lived life as an over-achiever. I’ll get there…

    1. Thanks for the lyrics – never get tired of them! It’s true that when you live your life in a certain way for so long, those habits are damn tough to break. I have a feeling that you’ll get there too, and I bet your FI plans will help tremendously in that regard. They certainly are helping me in the same way. 🙂

  9. Ok I admit it, I too have lived this fast life of trying to get everything done quickly. (I am taking my time on this comment) 🙂

    One more thing to add to this madness, we have to make sure to multi-task as much as possible. Eat while we surf the internet and respond to emails. Meanwhile our brain is thinking about something in the future while our phone rings so we can start another conversational thread. It is no wonder we get worn out, burnt out, stressed, overweight, and can’t seem to find that work/life balance!

    This is great timing for this article Steve. I am trying to take a week of R & R away from all the fast-paced activities in my life so I can slow down.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Bryan – I admit that I sometimes eat lunch in front of the computer, but I’m also just watching a YouTube video or something – not exactly working during lunch. It’s a fine line to walk, that’s for sure.

    1. Hey Will – you might find that you actually become more productive just by slowing down a bit. Remember that productivity isn’t necessarily measured by the amount of work that you get done. To me, accomplishing a few tasks during the day, while not running myself complete ragged, is all I really need to feel productive. 🙂

  10. I don’t know but when i read this post I thought about the old Alabama song “I’m In a Hurry” (maybe before your time…you youngun you). But I think you are dead on. Sometimes though I think I need to be in a hurry. I don’t know why. I just have always done things at a frenetic pace. Turning it off is hard for me.

    1. Ha! Thanks for the link – I admittedly didn’t know the song just by title, but I have heard it before after realizing what it was on YouTube. Gives a whole new meaning to those words, I tell ya.

      “Rushing rushing ’til life’s no fun.”

      Sing it, Alabama! 🙂

  11. Great read. I used to be the same way….always trying to be as busy as possible and always saying “yes” to everything. It worked for a while until I got burned out. Sometimes you need to slow down and really think to figure out how to get ahead. Your post ties well into what I’ll be posting tomorrow 🙂

    1. Thanks Marc, appreciate your comment. I’ll be one of the first to read your post, no doubt. It seems like the slow movement is gaining traction. 🙂

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