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...so it takes less time


Tomorrow I'm making a post on speed (or rather, the benefits of doing certain things quickly). So I thought I'd balance it out with one on the importance of slowing down.

I wrote earlier on the myths (and inefficiency) of multitasking. But despite knowing that, my default is to do it anyway. I've always had a problem with patience... but then I got my horse. A 100 pound person can't make a 1,000 pound animal do anything it doesn't want to do. But horseman Pat Parelli has a great saying about horse training and patience that I think applies to almost anything: "Take the time it takes so it takes less time."

It's a hokey phrase, I know. But it's easy to remember, surprisingly tough to implement, and incredibly valuable when applied.

Since I know far more about going fast than going slow, I have nothing else to offer other than a few of my favorite slow/time-related links

Adrian Savage has a new blog on Slow Leadership. I really love what he's got up there so far... you'll wish your boss was a subscriber.

My co-author Beth, and my daughter Skyler, are both into the Slow Food movement, which is surprisingly (for me, anyway) popular.

Evelyn Rodriguez' blog. There's nothing slow about her work, but I somehow always come away from Evelyn's writing with that energized-yet-somehow-more-peaceful feeling.

Of course, we can't forget the life-changing GTD (Getting Things Done) (life-changing for those who are as disorganized and chaotic as myself), and these helpful life support sites:



And as many of you know, I'm a huge fan of 43 folders

Tomorrow, we're back on internet time, baby.

(And if you have any other links on anything related to the beauty of slow, please post them!)

Posted by Kathy on December 5, 2005 | Permalink


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» Quick is Slow from ntschutta.com
Uncle Bob has a great post titled Going Fast - a theme I visited a while back. I dont know what it is about software development that makes people so willing to cut cornerseven (especially) when they know better. How much pain is caused b... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 28, 2007 11:46:49 AM


I'm also having a blog about those subjects. It's very interesting how GTD has become in the ultimate "nerd/geek" tool for time management. A couple of months ago I could ask my most geek friends about GTD and they wouldn't have a clue. Today, I can ask even the less informed guy about GTD and he "might" saw it on a website or someone told him about a system named like that.

My guess? over the next year we will se a lot of GTD (and hopefully, our beloved HPDA)

Awesome blog Kathy.
Javier Cabrera

Posted by: Javier Cabrera (ClearYourMind) | Dec 5, 2005 9:37:13 PM

I remember a wonderful quote when I was working for a former employer. It may not have been original, but it was very applicable. The company manufactures a diagnostic ultrasound machine, which is a huge, expensive, complicated project. A new generation machine takes something like a hundred engineers (majority programmers), working for five years.

Of course, there are a lot of schedule pressures, including the pressure to patch things to make them work quickly without making high-risk BIG changes. The quote was a direct response to that conflict:

"If we don't have time to do it right the first time, how will we find time to fix it later?"

Posted by: Barry | Dec 5, 2005 10:43:20 PM

Hi Kathy,

Another fun something "related to the beauty of slow" is slowLab (http://www.slowlab.net/about.html), an organization supported by the NY Foundation for the Arts, which promotes 'slowness' as an aspect of personal and community well-being thru creative, collaborative projects and design.

And your post reminds me of this challenging bit from a piece by writer Deena Metzger:

"..There is time only to work slowly

There is no time not to love."

Thank you (and your co-writers) for your fun and inspiring blog!

Posted by: Christy Lee-Engel | Dec 5, 2005 11:45:24 PM

Slowness is key to personal and interpersonal development. Speed is key to working with objects and systems.

Stephen Covey likes to say that Efficiency (speed) is for things and Effectiveness (slow) is for relationships.

My CohesiveIntegrity.com blog is all about the slow development of internal strength.

Posted by: J. H. Shewmaker | Dec 6, 2005 3:50:23 AM

Thank you very much for pointing at Slow leadership blog.
Very good read.
And there is article about multitasking: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000022.html

Posted by: Rimantas | Dec 6, 2005 4:23:23 AM

To speed up, slow down.

Working with and training a horse will convince a horseman quickly of the merit of slowing down. Five trailer loading training sessions lasting 10 minutes each trumps two hours of hurry up, we've got to get this horse on the trailer for the horse show now sessions.

My attention span is about the same as my horses'-twenty minutes.

Posted by: Doug Emerson | Dec 6, 2005 4:40:13 AM

Just keep slow and fast people apart!

No matter what you say, people HAVE ego's and that's that white horse everyone's riding on.

Posted by: Tarry Singh | Dec 6, 2005 4:55:01 AM

I would characterize the common theme that runs through many of the excellent slowness-related observations and links you (and your other readers) provide as "mindfulness", "attentiveness" or "presence".

One of my favorite evangelists of this theme is Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of "Wherever You Go, There You Are" and other inspiring books (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/297958/102-0942719-0092166). At his Center for Mindful Medicine, he leads his students through an exercise of mindfully eating a single raisin:

"You look at the raisin--feel it, smell it, and with awareness bring it to the mouth gradually, and see that saliva starts to get secreted just as you bring it up. Then you take the raisin into the mouth, and you begin to taste this thing that we usually eat automatically. From there it's a very short jump to realize that you may not actually be in touch with many of the moments of your life, because you're so busy rushing someplace else."

Another evangelist of mindfulness is Oriah Mountain Dreamer (http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com), who writes in her book "The Invitation":

"It is not the being, not even the doing that exhausts. It is the trying…

I am afraid that if I am not accomplishing something I will disappear, I will have nothing to offer when we meet. I want to be able to live for a day, a month, a year – even a life – that wouldn’t make a good story. If I have nothing to tell you when we met and you ask me what has been happening, I want to be fully content with this. I want to be able to occupy my life right to the corners and for this to be enough. … "

She also shares a mindfulness restoring meditation wherein she simply says to herself "slow down" on an inhalation, and "let go" on an exhalation.

I hope you enjoyed a nice, slow respite ... before gearing up for your speed post!

Posted by: Joe | Dec 6, 2005 8:18:39 AM


Most common answer from women asked what would their vagina say if it could speak?

"Slow down."

Posted by: Shaded | Dec 6, 2005 8:24:34 AM

Thanks for mention! I don't know where I read it first, but "go slow to go fast" is my new motto last few years (I used to be a chaotic, frenzied, stress kitten). But the slow is more a matter of being present than languid laziness. I'm still on Internet time. The difference is now it's not killing me.

The most helpful book I've read on being present is Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now." There's a section in there (pages 68-72 in the hardcover version) titled: Wherever You Are, Be There Totally. That right there sums it up.

This is my fav snippet:

"Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there," or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It's a split that tears you apart inside. To create and live with such an inner split is insane. The fact that everyone else is doing it doesn't make it any less insane. If you have to, you can move fast, work fast, or even run, without projecting yourself into the future and without resisting the present. As you move, work, run - do it totally. Enjoy the flow of energy, the high energy of that moment. Now you are no longer stressed, no longer splitting yourself in two. Just moving, running, working - and enjoying it. Or you can drop the whole thing and sit on a park bench. But when you do, watch your mind. It may say: "You should be working. You are wasting time." Observe the mind. Smile at it."

I know when I read that and then applied it, it truly rocked my world.

p.s. I love http://whiskeyriver.blogspot.com. It always manages to still me and sweep me away.

Posted by: Evelyn Rodriguez | Dec 6, 2005 6:36:58 PM

Slow is very much about NOT doing. And being fine with it. Quote:
...procrastination is a "disease" only from the point of view of the heroic ego, which believes it can and should control everything -- first discipline the self, then save the world. ("Enormous inner strength and will!" "The fight of your life, for the rest of your life!") Procrastination is one of the signs of the soul at work, undermining and sabotaging the grandiose aspirations of the hero-ego, perhaps so that something real can happen, or not happen, as it, not I, wish.

Read the rest here: http://ambivablog.typepad.com/ambivablog/2005/04/why_dont_we_do_.html

Posted by: Alexander Kjerulf | Dec 7, 2005 1:10:14 AM

According to Blaise Pascal, if you write too fast, your letters get too long:

"The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter."
Blaise Pascal

Posted by: noah little | Dec 7, 2005 3:42:54 AM

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