5 Steps To Slowing Down Your Life And Working Smarter

David Powers
Feb 20, 2018 · 5 min read

In today’s world, it’s pretty uncommon for a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, or life coach to tell you to slow down(I’m looking at you Gary Vee). The unrealistic expectation that in order to be successful you need to grind at 110% for years on end is becoming a plague and we need to stop it.

If there’s one way to burn yourself out and make yourself want to quit, it’s pushing harder, and harder, and harder until your motivation runs out and your patience runs thin. If you don’t give your brain time to breath, then you’ll suffocate in your own head.

Slow Down and Take a Breath — Step 1

Burnout, exhaustion, mental fog, they’re all a sneaky and unwelcome side effect of pushing yourself to be the best you can be with little down time. It’s an extremely slippery slope than can effect not only your work life, but your personal life as well. Something not talked about enough is figuring out how to take time to slow down, clear your head, take a breath and refocus.

It’s easy to get caught up in your day to day duties, progressively chipping away at your never ending to-do list. You may feel fine, and be happy with your progress, but you need to remember it’s better to stay on top of exhaustion than letting it catch up with you

If you notice that you’ve been moving a million miles an hour for just a little bit to long, take some time to slow down, think about where you’re at, take a breath, and make sure what you’re accomplishing is helping your bottom line.

When You’re Working, Focus On The Bottom Line — Step 2

Whether you’re in school, working your first job, or building your own company it’s super easy to get caught up in tasks that aren’t helping your bottom line.

How many hours do you think you waste a day making sure you hit inbox ZERO? How about diddling away on your phone liking your friend’s girlfriend’s friend’s instagram picture from last weekend?

These hours add up, and when you’re not making progress that is benefitting your bottom line, you’re just adding to the ultimate stress you’re going to occur. Ditch the dumb tasks till it’s time for a break, focus on what’s helping you hit the next milestone.

Prioritize Profits — Step 3

We’ve all been there. We get a text from a buddy that looks something like this. “Hey man, I’m in a tight squeeze and I’m looking for someone to design a logo for an event we’re having this weekend. I know you’re the shit, can you help us out?” This can be a sticky situation.

On one hand, he is your buddy, and he did just call you, “the shit”, which makes you feel pretty good. On the other hand, you’ve got a client who’s offered you $$$ to put together his logo. Sure you can attempt to do both, but you’ve also got 15 other things to do before Friday. So what’s the move?

“If you don’t give your brain time to breath, then you’ll suffocate in your own head.”

It sucks to say no to your friends, but if you’re in the business of building your own empire, you need to prioritize the money first. You’ve got bills to pay and the longer you don’t have money in your pocket, the less that money is ultimately worth.

Nothing says you can’t help friends out. It’s a great way to network, practice your craft, and try new things, but save it for after you’ve made the money. If you prioritize the profits, you’re brain will be less stressed in the end.

Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes — Step 4

If I had to pick one thing about society that drives me batshit crazy, it’s that failure has been stigmatized as something you need to avoid. I’m going to blame this on the shitty education system habits the United States has pushed students into.

If you asked most students what they’re priorities in school were today, I’d be surprised if even one of them said anything other than passing classes. If you struggle in class, you’re pushed to be embarrassed to raise your hand and admit you don’t understand. It’s bullshit and it’s only getting worse.

Opening up to allow yourself to make mistakes is incredibly valuable because you not only learn the proper way to do something, you learn the incorrect way to do something, which fosters a better understanding of a concept all together.

Figure Out A Feedback Strategy That Works For You — Step 5

Putting your head down and working is a common habit of most of us. It’s easy to sometimes just close out the world and get some work done. This can be extremely beneficial, but you need to find a balance of focus and feedback that works best for you.

Feedback is an underrated component to success, and it’s easy to go way to long without sitting down with your boss, customers, mentor, or friend and getting a pair of fresh eyes on your work.

Allowing someone else to check out what you’re working on gives you a new perspective and can show you things about your work that you never would have noticed. This can sometimes be hard, but it’s absolutely critical to producing a product that will get views and create sales.

Remember that when you’re looking for someone to give you feedback, avoid anyone who will just be nice. You’re not looking for a pat on the back, you’re looking to get uncomfortable for a minute and figure out what you can improve.

Take Action

Don’t sit around and wait for the inevitable burnout that’s going to come with pursuing a dream, stay on top of yourself and be honest. It may be weird at first to admit that you need to do the oposite of what’s being preached, but trust me future you will thank you.

To reaffirm your steps;

  • Slow Down and Take a Breath
  • When You’re Working, Focus On The Bottom Line
  • Prioritize Profits
  • Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
  • Figure Out A Feedback Strategy That Works For You

If you put these strategies into place, I can promise you that you will be able to work more efficiently and with a clearer head for longer.

If you like(or don’t like)what you’re reading, give me a follow and check out my website to shoot me an email. I love getting feedback, good or bad, as long as it’s honest. Keep grinding!

David Powers

Written by

Manufacturing Engineer at ETM Manufacturing, Former Co-Founder and CEO at The Hum, Former Owner at Bleed True LLC, Management Engineering Student at @WPI

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