When Do You Need Slow Mode?

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Last month I included a blog post by Leo Babauta who writes Zen Habits. This time I’ll write about slow mode; what it is and when you need it.

To start with, here’s some wisdom from the International Institute of Not Doing Much. 

  1. Put your feet up, and stare idly out of the window. Warning: Do not attempt this while driving.
  2. Do one thing at a time. Remember multitasking is a moral weakness (except for women, who have superior brain function).
  3. Ponder, take your time. Do not be pushed into answering questions. A response is not the same as an answer.
  4. Slowly learn our Slow Manifesto.
  5. Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things, and possibly that yawning may be good for you.
  6. Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams (not your aspirations.)
  7. Read the slow stories.
  8. Spend more time in the bathtub. (See letter from Major Smythe-Blunder.)
  9. Practice doing nothing. (Yes, this is the difficult one.)
  10. Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you’re only alive on Planet Earth for a limited time.

After you’ve refreshed yourself with some slowed down time, you need to add slow mode to your life.

Slow mode is for times when you need to give serious thought to something, or do in-depth planning or start creating something that’s large scale. Slow mode is akin to the important but not urgent tasks that Stephen Covey has written about. Here’s why it’s tough to do these tasks.

  • They don’t supply the satisfaction of crossing a task off a list
  • They generally don’t have a deadline to spur you on
  • They don’t give you immediate results you can point to

Yet these accomplishments are often the ones that have the greatest impact on our lives and our careers.

They are the ones we plug away at year after year and only later look back and see how valuable they were.

They are the ones that contribute directly to our feelings of fulfillment and having done something worth while with our lives.

So, slow down.