I recently read In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore. I think that he’s spot on with his message of re-learning to slow down and appreciate life in a world dominated by the cult of speed. My challenge now is to implement his ideas in my daily life.
For a long time I’ve attempted to maximise my (self-perceived) productivity and efficiency with my available time. Despite advocating avoiding multi-tasking, in reality I’m still guilty of regularly falling into the trap of attempting to rush through several different things at once. I live in a perpetual state of alert as I try to cram as much into the day as possible. I often end up creating “busywork” for myself as I find it so difficult to switch off from trying to be productive that I end up actually looking for chores and jobs to do, many of which are “nice to haves” rather than necessities and that busy time could be better spent just relaxing and being mindful.
I guess the first step is identifying when I’m tempted to multi-task and actively avoiding it. I can also feel that I’m beginning to become conscious of when I’m starting to feel hurried and to cultivate a mind-set of deliberately slowing down and actively encouraging myself to relax again. It’s all surprisingly difficult though. We’ve created a lifestyle for ourselves where it’s not only respected but expected of us to be hurrying all the time. It’s a shame that this has become the norm. We need to reclaim the middle ground. I completely agree with the Slow movement that we certainly don’t want to shun modern technology and speed. But we need to harness it at the right time. Like so much of our wondrous modern technology we need to make the ability to do things quickly a tool to work for us, rather than letting the tail wag the dog and the cult of speed to control us. It’s fine to do things quickly when it suits us but it’s also fine to take our time, to savour and enjoy our activities (or lack of) rather than hurry to move onto the next thing.