Slow Down To Do More: “Why You Can Do Anything, But You Can’t Do Everything” With Ashley Graber and Lindsay Junk
I have a tendency to want to do it all — at work and at home. I have found that does not work if you want to be effective! Two or three impactful meetings versus 10 rushed ones has a bigger impact. Same with at home. Instead of packing our days with back to back activities, we try to do a couple of fun things and enjoy them. I know I have done a good job of this when my 9-year-old writes about the weekend in his journal at school. When we do too much he’s overwhelmed and forgets what we did and resorts back to video game commentary.
As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down to Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Lindsay Junk, President of YogaSix, a boutique yoga brand that offers a broad range of heated and non-heated yoga classes, sculpt classes, slow flow and deep stretch — leading the tribe with a calm mind and strong vibe in a modern, fresh way.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
I grew up competing in sports starting from an early age and continuing through college. From attending the University of Hawaii as a varsity cross country athlete, ironman triathlete and swimmer, to working at Gold’s Gym and 24-Hour Fitness, I’ve always been competitive. I worked my way up through the fitness industry, and eventually found Yoga Works. There I learned how to become more mindful in my daily life. After 8 years, I moved on start my own fitness consulting company and was eventually introduced to TruFusion, where I signed on as the Chief Development Officer and learned about the world of franchising. From there, I was introduced to Xponential Fitness. I immediately connected with the company’s concept, the environment, and its core values, so when I heard that Xponential was acquiring a yoga brand, I jumped on the opportunity to become the President of YogaSix. It was the perfect role to combine everything I love and had worked for up to that point.
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 you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
I don’t think it’s always been this way, but that feeling of being rushed is certainly becoming more common as time goes on. We are spread so thin by demanding careers, family commitments, social media and technology, it’s hard to be present in one moment for long. I can be guilty of taking on too many projects and saying yes too often. Also, there is a culture of perfection that is unrealistic for most of us, at least me!
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
People never feel like they’re doing anything well because they’re spread too thin. On the occasion that we do something well, we don’t get to enjoy your accomplishments because you’re already onto the next task. I have three kids that are all into sports and oftentimes our family is zooming all over town on the weekends. Then the weekend ends and the week starts and we’re exhausted. We’ve learned the hard way that we have to schedule in down time so that we can be effective, when we haven’t followed this, we’ve ended up with grumpy kids and sick parents!
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?
Slow down and be more mindful with everything you do so you can get the full experience. For example, imagine a typical meeting where people are multi-tasking, responding to emails etc., as they try to work together to solve a problem. No one is fully engaged and the problem remains unsolved. The meeting ends, and a follow up is required. On the flip side, if everyone attending is distraction-free and focused, much more can be accomplished in a short period. On a personal level I have been guilty of responding to emails during kids sporting events and I end up missing an important part of the game or embarrassingly typing something incorrectly on my email or not thinking through my response well. No one wins on this and I leave feeling stressed!
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?
- Plan your day, schedule the “must dos” — this includes time for your workouts, time for your family and friends and also includes major work tasks. I always plan my workouts usually the week in advance. If I don’t do this, I am not effective during the day and I am miserable. I also accomplish more if I start my day giving something to myself.
- Delegate when appropriate so you’re not taking on everything yourself. I recognize the importance of sharing the workload. I’ve recruited a team of really strong individuals that excel in areas in which I may lack so that I’m not taking on everything alone. On the home front I’ve been trying to delegate chores and being ok when the kids fold the laundry “their way”.
- Fill time on your commute with tasks that can be accomplished e.g. taking phone calls or listening to a beneficial podcast. There’s no need to hear that popular song on the radio for the one-hundredth time, although I love singing along, when you could be fostering a personal relationship with a call to mom or setting yourself up for a successful workday by chatting with your team about the day’s duties. I often schedule touch base calls with franchise partners during my commute, and it’s been a great way to stay connected and engaged and it helps me learn about and help with their challenges.
- Schedule in “catch up” time While a phone call during a commute is a great way to stay in touch with someone, you can’t let that be the only time you catch up. At the beginning of the week, when you are scheduling out your work obligations, leave at least one evening or lunch hour to schedule something with a friend or loved one you haven’t seen in a while.
- Be deliberate with your time, work and personal. Don’t let that happy hour with a friend or date night you scheduled with your spouse go to waste — put your phone away and be totally present. For work, make the meeting times shorter and distraction free — try walking meetings.
- Make a habit of looking at your day the night before and doing a mental run-through. You don’t have to coordinate every single detail down to the second, but a little mental practice can reduce stress and help you feel more confident in the upcoming day. I’ve gotten my kids in the habit of laying out their clothes for the next day the night before taking into account what they have going on. This has been a huge time saver for us in the morning and also a good habit for me and my husband!
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
Snowballing off of what I mentioned before, “mindfulness” is being deliberate with your time, removing distractions and being present. In a sense, it is paying attention to paying attention. For example, when we all meet together as a team at YogaSix everyone commits to turning over their phones and not bringing in their laptops. Our meetings are now more effective and actually a lot more fun.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
Focus on the task at hand, don’t schedule long blocks of time and have a goal at the end of every meeting that you need to accomplish. Be conscious of the fact that less is more.
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
Find a trigger word that you can say to yourself that is short and will create a jolt to remind you of the task at hand, to ensure you can be present. I took a TM meditation course year ago and still use my Mantra when I find myself getting scattered.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices
“Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. I also really like a book by Jesse Itzler called “Living with Monks.”
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 have a tendency to want to do it all — at work and at home. I have found that does not work if you want to be effective! Two or three impactful meetings versus 10 rushed ones has a bigger impact. Same with at home. Instead of packing our days with back to back activities, we try to do a couple of fun things and enjoy them. I know I have done a good job of this when my 9-year-old writes about the weekend in his journal at school. When we do too much he’s overwhelmed and forgets what we did and resorts back to video game commentary.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could inspire a movement, it would be one of “living in the moment and being present.” The ability to really slow down and actively listen to those around you with the intent to understand their point of view, recognizing that opposing perspectives can generate the best result or product etc., especially in a business environment.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!
About the Author:
After 15 years working in Commercial Real Estate in New York City, Ashley Graber changed the coast she lived on and the direction of her life from Real Estate to the worlds of Psychology and Meditation & Mindfulness. Ashley came to these practices after getting sober and in the decade plus since, she now runs a busy mindfulness based psychotherapy practice at Yale Street Therapy in Santa Monica, CA where she see adults and children and speaks on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices.
Ashley is an Owner and Director of Curriculum for the next generation meditation app & mindfulness company ‘Evenflow’ and launched the company’s one to one online mindfulness mentoring program. Ashley also educates teachers and administrators in schools and presents in businesses across Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
Ashley was trained in Meditation and Mindfulness practices by prominent teachers; Elisha Goldstein, Richard Burr and Guiding teacher at Against the Stream Boston, Chris Crotty. Her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) certification was done through The Center for Mindfulness at UC San Diego. Additionally, Ashley is trained by Mindful Schools to teach Meditation and Mindfulness practices to children and families. Ashley’s unique combination of psychotherapy, trauma reprocessing and meditation and mindfulness practices make her a sought after therapist and mindfulness educator and speaker. Her passion for the benefits of mindfulness practices as well as her enthusiasm for helping young kids and adults is the drive to teach these very necessary, life long skills and why she wrote and runs the Mindfulness for Families program at The Center for Mindful Living. This is where she teaches groups of families with children ages 6–12. Ashley was featured on Good Morning LaLa Land, presented on Resilience at the renowned Wisdom. 2.0 Mindfulness & Technology conference, and presented at the TED Woman conference offering an in-depth look at the profound psychological and physiological consequences of chronic stress, and how meditation and mindfulness practices can alleviate these effects.