Slow Down To Do More: “We get a dopamine hit every time we can an email or scroll Instagram. It is more then just feeling rushed, we are actually addicted.” with Kura Perkins and Ashley Graber

Ashley Graber M.A., LMFT
Jul 11 · 7 min read

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Kura Perkins, a serial entrepreneur who has launched five businesses successfully over the last 20 years. Her early began in public relations where she worked as a consultant for almost 15 years on a range of projects in the property and community sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom. A highlight of this was heading up the communications team on the London Athletes’ Village for the 2012 Olympic Games. In 2010 she launched a new career in the home furnishings industry, launching the now global company Art Hide, and later in 2014, another interior products business Amigos de Hoy. In 2016, Kura was part of the founding team for a mobile app called Home Addict. The app uses Machine Learning and Data Analytics to better help both clients and retailers in finding the the right products. Kura is based in Perth, Western Australia, where she lives with her three young daughters and husband, a dog, small parrot, budgie and 3 chickens.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

After a hectic career in corporate public relations in the UK, I was keen to move into something more child friendly and less reliant on me being there for the billable hour. A move to Italy, brought on by my husband’s job, prompted me to look at something new. During a brief visit to Argentina in 2009, I met a maker of stitched cowhide rugs and fell in love with a unique piece that I’d never seen anything like before. While in Italy, I researched the market, did a business plan and dived head on in. Since then I have moved into other interior focused businesses, most with an international flavor.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what

It’s because we are always ‘on’. Technology, while providing the freedom to work anywhere, also means that we are always working. Other studies also show how addictive our smart phones are — we get a dopamine hit every time we can an email or scroll Instagram. It is more then just feeling rushed, we are actually addicted. It’s not great.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

Here’s an article I wrote about just this thing: Five lessons learned from two weeks without my Smart Phone.

As an international entrepreneur, owner of three businesses and a mum, it’s a constant stress to juggle my digital life versus real life.

Admittedly, it was harder before the kids started school. At least these days I have fixed — although limited — working hours. But once I’ve collected the kids from school, it’s a constant battle to ignore my phone’s interruptions or just my strong urge to pick it up and scroll through our brands’ Instagram pages!

Recently I travelled with my husband and three young children to Vietnam for two lovely long weeks.

Well in advance, I took the decision to leave my smart phone at home. My three daughters were genuinely excited when I told them this and took the opportunity to tell anyone they could!

I can see they get so frustrated with my constant digital distractions at any time of day and in any place, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to switch off. And step away from the smart phone!

Here’s what I learned:

1. The world doesn’t stop

Nope, not even close. I honestly feel like we are attached to our smart phones in way the way our limbs are fixed. It took me awhile to lose the ‘nervous tick’ of reaching for it, but once that was gone, I was grateful for the presence in each moment that I felt.

2. I felt calmer and happier

That’s not surprising when recent studies have proven the chemical processes that occur in our brain every time we open up social media. Just like reaching for something sweet, or a cold bevy, every time we flick on Instagram, our brain’s reward centre lights up and provides a dopamine hit. Within a few minutes of scrolling, our mood deflates and we disengage. Until the next hit, that is.

3. I’m way more engaged with my kids and husband

This is my number one benefit and the reason I did the experiment. The girls loved having me fully present and interacting with them, playing Marco Polo in the pool, catching every joke and every moment. Lots of lots of eye contact, cuddles and laughs brought us much closer as a family again.

4. I read more

Since I’ve had smart devices (10 years), I have noticed an ongoing decline in the amount I read. Sure I catch the news on my iPhone, because that ‘snackable content’ and also love reading regular Medium articles. Non fiction still gets a look in, but only to the tune of 12 books a year. Fiction? Forget it!

5. I feel less anxious in the mornings

I noticed that during 2018, I was waking up each day and reaching for my phone immediately. What drove that instinct was a feeling of anxiety upon waking. Reaching for the iPhone didn’t deal with that feeling of anxiety at all, and was therefore quite irrational. Now I take more time with my morning thoughts and I’m more intentional in setting myself up mentally for the day before arising.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

By making more time for me, I enjoy each moment more. Mental space is created to think creatively. Through expansive thinking, I come up with fabulous, implementable ideas for business and life. When we are rushing we are task masters and miss the big picture.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

  1. Personal coaching — During 2018, I started personal life coaching with an incredible coach, Hayley Carr . In the space of a few months, my perspective radically shifted and I begun practicing, “slow down to do more and create more”. The relief I felt at giving myself permission to not be such a task master with myself was liberating. Coaching with Hayley has been life-changing.
  2. Journalling — I am not a daily journal writer, however I started journalling at the same time I started coaching, and it has grounded me and provided a continuum or mirror of my growth. I highly recommend it as a tool for self reflection and self improvement.
  3. Vision board — I started doing a vision board at the beginning of last year, when I was fed up with my own bullshit or a range of reasons and wanted to set a new ethos, some goals and kick some habits. On my vision board there are a range of words and phrases that keep me motivated each and every day, including my Word of the Year (this year, it is Calm)
  4. Reading anything by Brianna Wiest. Her work is a breathe of fresh air and is always a source of grounded inspiration.
  5. Habits — I have started committing to a range of habits every day. They’re all personal things, like ‘cook a nourishing dinner’ and ‘10,000 steps’ but I feel a sense of quiet achievement each day in prioritising
  6. Breaking up with booze — not permanently, but I am having a good break. I was finding alcohol was getting in the way of more and more things, and I have been trying to set up new routines to best support slowing down.

How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?

I do not believe it has to mean meditation, yoga or chanting. I do use a range of apps for quickie mindfulness breaks. But often, it is living moment to moment and just having that awareness; that sense of watching my own mind.

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

Enjoying a solitary short walk or getting out into nature.

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

Deep breathing as required. It is something anyone can access, anywhere.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices

Calm App, Buddhify app, essential oils

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

You can do anything, but not everything. I don’t know where this came from, but I think it is so true. Multitasking is a farce.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Ashley Graber M.A., LMFT

Written by

Founder of the Evenflow App. Motivational Speaker, Psychotherapist, & Mindfulness Educator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.