Summer Slow-Down Lessons

Summer Slow-Down Lessons

My friend Marc Rubin and I tease our colleague Tina Governo.

You seem to be working harder than ever, we chuckle during a phone chat with her.

Tina just switched from a demanding full-time corporate leadership role to a part-time position. She has been on the road more than ever, it seems. Yeah – I chuckle and empathize. When I look at the pace of my life over the last 6 weeks I think to myself come on, really? Like, REALLY?

We need to relearn the slow-down lessons again and again. Don’t think of this as summertime. Consider it summer slow-down time.

When I lived in Manhattan, many firms switched to summertime hours. Short Fridays, long week-ends. When I lived in Trinidad and Tobago, it was summertime 365 days a year. You slow down.

The weather knows. The body knows. We think we know better. Many of us slow down the second we exit a building, switch back to rush-rush mode the moment we’re back inside. Consider this one of the gifts of the summer heat: Experiment with slowing down even when the air-conditioning says go ahead, keep rushing. Experience some of the subtle benefits of slowed-down time:

  • Slower Walks

As you stroll down the office hallway to a meeting room or kitchenette, walk slower than you normally might. Less briskly, more calmly. You will be more keenly aware of the space around you. Less in your thoughts, more in the physical environment. You will suddenly feel considerably more alert. And that feels really nice!

  • Slower Speech

Regardless of your regular speech rhythm, have some fun slowing down your speaking pace. This may mean actually speaking more slowly. Pausing a bit longer. Chances are, what you say will resonate more strongly with your conversation partner. Individual words will pop. Your pauses will allow for deeper absorption by the other party. The entire conversation will settle into a more purposeful exchange. That feels nice, too!

  • Slower Breath

You likely don’t pay attention to your breath during a regular day. Understood. Pause once in a while for 20, 30 seconds. Observe your breath. Slow down and lengthen your inhale, your exhale. Then return to the task you are performing, the phone call you are about to make. As your breath slows down, you heighten your enjoyment of the activity you perform. Yup, really nice.

  • Single Tasks

We know you can multi-task. You get things done. Chances are, by the end of the day you may not remember some of what you did. You had a highly efficient and regrettably unmemorable day. Choose to remember what you’re doing as you’re doing it. Because it actually takes time the day after to recall all the details that you forgot. And that’s less nice.

Surrender to summer slow-down time, not just in the outdoor mid-July heat. As you slow down, you will more vibrantly experience each aspect of your day. You will fritter away less time. You will be more mindful of each moment.

It’s the slow-down paradox. We actually get more done.

Very nice indeed.

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Achim Nowak is an author, speaker, C-Suite coach, international authority on personal presence. His book "The Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating a Mindful Life in a Distracted World" (New Page Books) has just been published. His previous books have become prized resources for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executives around the globe. Achim and his work have been featured on 60 Minutes, Fox News, NPR, in The New York Times and The Miami Herald.