What’s the hurry?

I’ve always been an impatient son of a bitch.

Always hated being slowed down. If I wasn’t moving forward then I quickly became frustrated.

This could be a car journey, a career path or simply a queue at the supermarket checkout.

I simply hated being slow.

Yet recently I’ve become more aware of my speed and discovered the benefits of slowing down.

And it’s been a revelation.

Having to attend a Speed Awareness course was a painful Little Britain-like experience, yet it has given me a new appreciation of respecting the legal speed limits.

I’m now enjoying driving at the appropriate speed and switching off the anxiety of potentially getting nicked again.

Who would have guessed that being a good boy would be so calming?

Applying this increased awareness of my speed across other activities is also proving super-beneficial.

The most powerful one is reducing my use of digital ‘tools’, spending an increasing amount of time offline and in the good old-fashioned analog world.

Removing social media apps from my phone, not checking my emails until 9am (and then only once an hour), and coming offline altogether at 8pm have all helped give me more time to enjoy the things I truly enjoy more.

Cal Newport’s excellent book ‘Deep Work’ really struck a powerful chord with me. If you haven’t read it, I can’t recommend it and Cal’s blog highly enough.

As a career ‘knowledge worker’ (Cal’s description of a desk-jockey), I am a totally aware of the shallowness of my office hours.

I’m not alone in this, and this is one of the reasons behind the growing demand for learning traditional, manual skills which we are seeing.

In Cal’s book, he describes “the craftsman’s approach to tool selection” which is a considered and selective process based upon the task required.

This process just sounded so deliberate and ‘deep’ to me that I wish to apply it to my own non-manual world.

I simply want to slow things down, take my time, enjoy the present more.

I’m finding myself using a pen and paper a lot more, writing down thoughts and ideas and completing my daily journalling. All of which are proving hugely useful in helping me slow down and become more thoughtful, as well as gaining an increased appreciation for the small but amazing things which happen each day.

By slowing down my decision-making my choices are becoming more informed and rational, with less emotional energy being used. This is allowing me to apply my energy to where it is most productive and of most benefit.

I now firmly believe that these more rational, less emotional thought processes are now delivering actions which will get me to my desired destinations quicker than ever.

‘No hurry, no pause’ is a Chinese proverb which I picked up in Tim Ferriss’s book ‘Tool of Titans’. The Derek Sivers chapter in the book is also super-insightful on this topic, with Derek sharing his example of his daily ride now taking an enjoyable 45 minutes instead of an intense, painful 43 minutes.

Time is a precious gift and the older I get the more I value it. By slowing down, being more deliberate in my focus and my actions I’m hoping to make the most of what I have left.

This post was first published on my blog liveinshorts.com, where you can sign-up to receive my weekly newsletter.

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