Slowing down has never been my ‘thing’. I’ve been a go-go-go kind of a girl since being very little and it’s no surprise, looking back, that I was completely burnt out by the time I was 40.
So I’ve basically learned, the hard way, that going at full pelt every day does you no favours. It is, however, still, my default gear and it’s something that I have to work on regularly and consciously so I don’t slip back into old habits.
I’ve also learned, in the last year or two especially, that when I go too hard and too fast – think Wonder Woman I can do everything and anything mentality – that I crash and become sluggish and muddled and basically a heap of unproductiveness, procrastination, and half-finished products.
And Enter Slow Down To Speed Up
This is one of my coaching concepts that I have researched more and more over the last 6 months. Not going to lie, a lot of the guinea-pig-type work has been on myself. I’ve tested my limits. Tested my effectiveness and tasks and had a general play around with keeping on going vs rest to see what brings me the best results.
Here’s What I Found
Planning and spending my time mindfully and intentionally is by far the most productive state of being. I could pretty much end there because it’s one of the most true sentences just as it is.
It makes me both calmer and more focused. It makes me reliable too as I get tasks done in a systematic and pragmatic way. Think less flapping chicken and more owl-like zen.
Plus, getting the same or better results for less effort and stress seems like an awesome life hack, no?
The Secret to Planning
I create a “master plan” on a Sunday evening for the week. I figure out everything that I need to do and then I split them up. I’ve found that the magic number is 4 things per day…any more than that and you are genuinely setting yourself up for failure because you won’t get them done (on the basis of you’re not Wonder Woman) and then you’ve failed for the day rather than succeeded. Put 4 important things on your list, get them done as early as possible in the day, and ta-da! you’ve won.
What this also means is that the important things don’t sink to the bottom of the list and supermarket shopping, laundry, calling your dad, and everyday stuff rises to the top. Keep the mundane tasks off and focus on the biggies.
If I know what I’m doing for the day, I run the day, not the other way around. I get so much more done and have free time left at the end. Again…slow down to speed up. Having structure in your day will give you so much more energy.
Make Your Priorities Guide You
If you can set your priorities for the week ahead (that align with your goals) you can freely so no to anything that doesn’t fit in with them (and ‘no’ is a complete sentence, don’t forget). Saying no to things that don’t fit in with your priorities make sure that you don’t stray off track, focus on the things that are most important to you, and put all of your energy in one direction.
My favourite planner for setting my goals, priorities, and more is The Phenomenal Woman Planner from Leaders in Heels – available from CQ Marketing Academy (click to view).
And Speaking of Energy
The first thing to do is to look at where your energy is leaking the most – which areas are the main culprits – work? relationships? family? finances? I love to do a wheel of life assessment with all of my 1-2-1 clients and transformation programme clients
Figure out then what parts of them are draining… is it your partner’s family? your debt cycle? your children’s lack of independence? The good news is that the simple act of becoming aware of a particular area of your life that’s really draining your energy is often enough to shift things. You may change your behaviour, let go of things you can’t control (think not my circus, not my monkeys), and try and identify which parts you can actually influence.
Add then look at what you can do to add to your energy. It’s often the quiet, mindful exercises that will make you feel grounded, centred and full of energy. Figure out what makes you feel energised and invest more and more in that. When you begin to see your energy as the treasured thing of beauty that it is, you get way more done in less time, you’re better able to see what’s a priority and say no to what’s not, and you get on this beautiful upward spiral where getting more energised simply leads to more energy and so on.
And, Girl, Do I Now Treasure My Sleep
When I learned not to go full pelt all day… fitting in pockets of me time, mindfulness, yoga, walks and more, my days become more balanced and whole. and I could go to bed with a quieter mind, more in-tune body, and calm soul. The result? Better and more rested sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and energised.
So slow down, sweetheart, simplify life to focus and take time for you to mean more things can get done in less time with less energy.