This title is totally tongue in cheek, because I don’t think there is a slow work movement.
Most of us “get” the slow food movement that has eased into our consciousness over the past decade or so. The concept of taking your time when you prepare/eat a meal and enjoying it mindfully rather than wolfing it down the hatch while checking Facebook.
But what about taking the same approach to our work? And why would we? Isn’t productivity everything?
In our workplace consulting we often hear from the clients the challenge that stress has on their bodies physically – the most common issue being neck tension at times leading to headaches.
This alone can cut into our productivity – pain and doing good quality work are not common
Stress also has the effect of narrowing our span of attention. Putting us into a state where we can do short sharp jobs like answer emails and delegate tasks to people but are struggling to really think effectively.
In these highly stressed states we can get caught in a circle of doing quick little jobs and answering emails, but not actually sinking into the … “real work”… the strategic plans… The important conversations… The quality stuff.
I’ve taken way too long to learn this lesson. The wisdom I have to share on how to engage in “slow work” effectively is this:
Take the time to be in a grounded state before you work
- Eat a good breakfast
- Practice mindful breathing
- Ensure you allow enough time to get things done (this means saying “no” when you need to by the way)
Work in a physical environment that suits the type of work you are doing
Open plan offices can be handy and sociable but are not often conducive to work that needs concentration over a period of time. Use these environments when you need to be close to team members, are trying to reign in your inbox, or doing short simple jobs.
When you need uninterrupted time where your cognition/thinking can flourish, chose more private environments (home, library, spare office?).
When you are trying to come up with new ideas / be innovative, consider open areas that are naturally lit. Perhaps even outdoors for a little while. It’s amazing what some fresh air and movement can do for your thinking.
Switch your emails off and check them at intervals
This is now a common tactic and has transformed the working day for many. If you haven’t tried this yet give it a go. At first, you will have that niggly “Ahhh… I’m disconnected… maybe I’m missing out on important stuff?…“ feeling. Chill out. The world can wait a couple of hours while you get things done.
Use good time management skills
That sounds easier than it is yeah?
One key to this is to use “To do” lists that are prioritised
A second key is that if you are too busy to say yes to a request then say “No”. It’s ok, people will still love you. They may even love you more???
Have a healthy and productive day