Are you creating time to slow down?

Written by Lianne Noy  Actively supporting marketing and communications work across international Academy hubs, ultimately seeking to support learners achieve positive impact as social entrepreneurs and help them develop strong and sustainable enterprises that engage their communities.


Do you ever get the feeling that you’re stuck in ‘fast-forward’? Are you constantly trying to cram as much as you can, in less and less time?

Even the way we improve things now is by speeding them up... speed dialling, speed walking, speed reading, and now emojis for ‘speed communicating’ :) 

“Time is money,” Benjamin Franklin said. And when you consider the third sector, time is also the difference between making change happen now or later.

But if we don’t take the time to stop and reflect, speed can start to take a heavy toll on our health, our relationships, our work and even our passion for doing it in the first place.

It makes me wonder, are we better off going slower?


Changing Mindset on 'Slow'

The word ‘slow’ has got itself a bit of a bad rep. But there are amazing movements, across the world, of people slowing down to ultimately live happier, healthier, and more productive lives – ranging from slow movements in the way we cook and savour food, to how we design and build new landscapes and cities.

So what sorts of things do we need to think about when slowing down?


1. Develop your Self-Awareness

The next time you’re drudging through a million and one tasks, ask yourself, why are you going so fast?

  • Do you just have too many things to do?
  • Is it that you don’t want to let go of those things?
  • Are you keeping busy to distract yourself from something else?
  • Are you keeping busy to show others you’re doing your job well?

Listen and challenge your own thinking and assumptions, especially when they don’t align with what you’re trying to achieve.

For example, be careful when you’re justifying things like ‘I’m exhausted but it’s just while I get these deadlines out the way, I wouldn’t normally be working these long hours otherwise’. Make sure you do get back to that work-life balance again, as there will always be more work than time.

Reflective journaling could help you develop this stream of consciousness.


2. Review your Role

How are you using the time you do have – are you using it most effectively? Review your roles and responsibilities and identify areas that give you energy and use your skills best. Could you be delegating other aspects of your role to someone else who has more capacity?

This doesn’t mean you should give up things that you love doing (in fact, the exact opposite). It means that there may be things that you can delegate that just don’t energise you anymore... but could excite someone else.


3. Prepare for the Challenge

Fun fact: did you know that oxytocin (that hormone that gets released when we hug someone) is actually a stress hormone? When you’re feeling stressed, your hormones are motivating you to seek support and be surrounded by people who care about you.

Give in to your oxytocin and find a support network. There’s so much value to be gained from sharing your experiences and challenges of going too fast (or slowing down) with people who understand where you’re coming from (or facing the same problem themselves).

Support each other to find solutions that are right for you, and hold each other accountable to the goals you set yourself.


4. Take Responsibility

Whether you start with your team or with the whole organisation, create a culture where you’re taking care of each other.

If you’re seeing barriers that are stopping people from slowing down, let it be your collective responsibility as a team, to find ways to remove these.

As people passionate about making a difference in our communities, we are capable of and driven to achieve anything we want. But sometimes we can’t always achieve everything we want, on our own.


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