I’ve had to take things a little slower lately, which for me
means going from working about 70 hours a week to only 60 hours.
Nevertheless, there’s great value in slow. Going slower
makes you think faster. Slowing down can make you more productive. Slow works
but doesn’t get enough credit.
My colleague Steve Rubel reminded me about being slow when
he wrote about favoring “old school technology like
newsletters in an age of too much.” And this from a guy who consumes more
information in a week than all of humanity produced from Year Zero to 1900.
If Steve Rubel can slow down, then so can I. Here are six
ways to help you put on the mental brakes:
- Stop following people who update Twitter with
banal observations about the music they’re listening to “right now,” or with where they checked in, or with “inside tweets”
to fellow ego-driven douchebags of the socal mediasphere. Not that I feel
strongly about this or anything…
- E-mail is not a medium designed for urgency, so
stop checking your Blackberry every nanosecond. If something is truly urgent,
go to your mobile device of choice and try out the “phone” App.
- Do as Steve suggests and subscribe to newsletter
“digest” versions of your favorite blogs. An earthquake in Haiti is important
and necessitates real-time coverage – Google Buzz or the latest eMarketer chart
- Read a newspaper while you still can. In fact,
take a day, turn off your feeds and consume news only from print and radio.
Then see if you feel less informed or more aware of actual news that matters.
- Write something longer than 140 characters or
even a few paragraphs. Give it a premise and a beginning, middle and end. And
when you’re done put it aside and come back to it a day or so later, and then
edit the hell out of it. Finally, don’t post it anywhere. Not everything needs
to be shared.
- Most of all, don’t believe blindly in the
future. Believe in the past and trust your experience to make the future
manageable, tolerable and, hopefully, more worthwhile.