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How to Do Things Slowly

Brian Crain
Brian Crain
1 min read

In my last post, I wrote about how my goal for 2022 is to go slow. But this is easier said than done. My own default mode is to try to do things fast and rush. When I do anything, I tend to fall into that default mode whatever original intention I have.

However, I have found one way that works well for me to slow down. It works especially well for things like tidying up or off-computer work. But I think it can also be effective for working on the computer.

It works like this:

I take a notebook and write down what I will do. For instance, I'm in my office and there is a lot of stuff lying around. I might write: Put cup in dishwasher. Then I take the cup, walk to the dishwasher and put it in. I come back to the notebook and write the next thing. That might be: Charge headphones at charging dock.

I'm not writing a high level activity, like Tidy Up. I'm writing down a small action that will probably take less than a minute to complete.

This has a few different effects:

  1. It slows me down, because it adds this pause between different actions.
  2. It helps me relax. Because it is very easy to put a cup in the dishwasher. It's clear what to do. But if the task is tidy up, I have a lot of different things that I could be doing. And that makes it more stressful.
  3. It helps to increase focus. Because I've written down exactly what I will do, I'm much less likely to get distracted.

If you try this, at first it probably feels very inefficient and alien. But each time, I get into a very relaxed and focused state. And if I check in after 10 minutes, I have a decent list of things that I completed. Progress is very visible and I'm always amazed how I end up doing much more than expected even though I go so slowly.