Friday, September 28, 2007

Slow Down

We live in a world that celebrates speed. Our attention spans and patience dwindle as technology reduces the time for various tasks. I recall a study a few years ago indicating that Americans believe heating a meal in the microwave for over ten minutes constitutes serious cooking.

There a great deal of pleasure, however, to be found doing things at a slow, methodical, pace. The enjoyment of the task is revealed as it slowly unfolds. In the beauty and simplicity of the process our stress dissolves. Make a perfect pot of coffee. Drive slowly through some empty countryside. Sit in a restaurant and soak in the flow of the conversation.

On the job, select one meaningful task and begin to work on it very slowly, taking each step as a clearly separate entity. Resist the temptation to speed up. Focus on doing the immediate component extremely well, just as a master carpenter will study the grain of the wood before slowly using the plane or chisel.

Remember the mantra: Fast is slow. Slow is fast.

Enjoy the process of work.


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