Going Slow to Go Fast

One of my wife’s favorite sayings is, “More haste, less speed.”  She usually utters this in exasperation after she has knocked something over in her rush to do something else.  Or when she can’t find her keys, making her later than she already is.

In our overly-busy lives, we make constant demands on ourselves to cram more doing into not enough time.  We are incredibly adept at convincing ourselves that there is always room for one more thing.

Whatever happened to reflection?

What?  I don’t have time for that!

Really?  What’s the cost to you and those you work with for not taking even a moment to think about what you’re doing?

Speed can be a false economy.  Just jumping in and getting on feels good because we’re “doing something”, whereas pausing to plan, reflect, or just breathe feels like a waste of time.

So many of my clients talk about planning and reflection as a luxury they just can’t afford.  So often I get called in to help only after they haven’t indulged sufficiently in this “luxury”.  After they have discovered that re-work is more time consuming (and expensive) than reflecting a little bit.

Reflection is the pause that refreshes (sorry, Coca-Cola).  It is looking back just enough to help you go forward more intelligently, with greater effect.  It is an essential aspect of learning.  It is what you are doing reading this post.

And, there is a great continuum of reflection: all the way from multi-day planning retreats to taking a deep breath at your desk to everything in-between.

Learn to recognize when you’re running on auto-pilot.  That way, you can flip that switch to “off” every once in a while to have a look around to make sure you’re where you think you are.