Slowing down in order to speed up

By: Lauren Wiggins 09/09/2020

I remember someone saying to me that we are not in the same boat, we may be sailing the same storm, but we are all in very different boats experiencing very different journeys. This has become particularly apparent to me during lockdown.

It feels as though life has been a whirlwind this year, having to make adjustments to new ways of living. Lockdown has had such an impact on so many people and in multiple different ways.

Personally, lockdown has allowed me to take a step back and focus on things I normally wouldn’t have time to do. For example, I decided to complete a personal goal and gained a certification in The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage which has enriched my knowledge and enhanced my insight into digital marketing, which I can put into action when I return to university in October.

I think we are naturally adopting the ‘slow down to speed up’ approach without realising. Without the normal stresses of day to day life, many have tried new hobbies, found a new routine or fitness plan and implemented something to enrich their life just by slowing down.

From a business perspective, many companies have used this time to review areas of the business, get ahead on their planning, look at new opportunities or catch up on tasks that would normally be at the bottom of their list.

It’s important to understand that doing a many things at once doesn’t actually make you any more efficient and taking the time to slow down and prioritise work or aspects of your personal life, can lead to greater success.

Some top tips to keep in mind when slowing down to speed up:

  1. “You can do anything, but not everything.”

It’s difficult to “let go” and to entrust others with the responsibilities and tasks needed to achieve success. Investing the time on clear guidelines is one way to ensure effective delegation. It’s important to address these questions;

  • What is to be achieved?
  • Why is it important?
  • How is it to be achieved?
  • How will achievement be measured?
  • When is it to be achieved?

2. Take a step back

It’s important to learn the value in stepping back and taking a breath. When doing a task, whether at work or at home, you should ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What is the urgency?
  • Does this impact anyone else?
  • Does this need to happen right now?
  • Could I de-prioritise something else?
  • Could someone else handle this?

In most work situations, client deadlines take a higher priority, so could you speak to your internal stakeholders and negotiate a later deadline for your internal task? Or maybe that task could be delegated to a colleague instead – why not speak to them and find out?

3. Look at the bigger picture

Give yourself the time to consider the bigger picture, rather than considering each task individually. Look at your calendar, understand the time you have available to you and share your priorities with your team members or family members. By using all the information available, you will be able to be realistic with your time, share tasks where necessary and push back others that are less important.

To be able to slow down to speed up effectively, it’s vital to use all resources available to you. If you take the time to review, prioritise and delegate, you will be able to achieve your goals to a higher standard without running yourself into the ground and lockdown has provided a perfect example of this.