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Slow Down to Speed Up

I was telling a friend that my full pre-Covid schedule has returned. How about your schedule? Are you feeling like you're running from one meeting or project to the next?

A poll of my colleagues tells me that I'm not alone.

  • Travel for work

  • Conferences

  • Zoom calls

  • In-person meetings

  • Lunches

  • Dinners

  • Events

  • Developing

  • Building

  • Launching

  • Expanding

It's all happening at a rapid pace, and it's all happening simultaneously; or at least that's how it feels.

I've heard the word "overwhelmed" used in many conversations with friends, staff and colleagues, and I must admit that I feel it too. So what can we all do to keep productivity high and burnout low?

My solution is to slow down to speed up. I know that sounds counter-productive, but the slowing down at planned intervals will keep you and your team from tipping over the edge of Mountain Burnout.

I make a practice of slowing down every day at about 3 p.m. I turn on music in my office, look at a few funny social media posts (I'm partial to the salty office antics of Noodles the Pooch on Instagram). Or, I might do something totally unrelated to work. I might take a walk around the office or go outside. On Saturdays, I write as I jam to Jill Scott. I might organize a drawer or cabinet in my home, or put together a new tablescape on my dining room table. These things are very relaxing to me and my Type A personality.

Find indoor and outdoor activities that bring you joy, laughter and relaxation both during work hours and non-work hours. Do these activities often, before overwhelm sets in, even if you need to move a deadline. If your Type A, like me, you undoubtedly have personal self-imposed deadlines, before the actual deadline. So yes, you can move your self-imposed deadlines.

Another 'overwhelm" buster is to engage with friends. Developing a social circle is important to maintaining a healthy balance. Sometimes you might need to vent and other times you need a shoulder to lean on or advice on how to handle a certain situation.

So, take some time this week and plan what I call a "mental vacay." Slow down a bit, relax, have fun, dance around, eat ice cream, and know that you're at your best when you take better care of yourself. Once you're refreshed, you can finish your task with less stress.

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