Thoughtful Thursday: Slowing Down
June 7, 2018
The summertime invites a slower pace, bare feet, and lounging around, but when you’ve got a dissertation or thesis to finish, slowing down is the last thing you feel like doing! We understand that – but sometimes, even slowing down for part of each day can be beneficial to recharge your soul and “reboot” your motivation. It can also help reduce stress. With so much technology at our fingertips – literally – every day, all day, it’s easy to fall into that gogogo mindset of always being in touch with work or never having downtime with research, school, or obligations. It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes slowing down can actually make you more productive! Slowing down can be similar to mindfulness, but you don’t have to practice mindfulness to slow down.
- Unplug. If you can unplug for one full day each week, that’s awesome, but for many people, that’s not always doable, either. Try baby steps: put away your phone, shut down your laptop, turn off your television – for a half hour each day. Meet up with a friend for in-person discussion and camaraderie. Take advantage of the silence to breathe deep, stretch, and let your mind wander for a bit. Over time, maybe extend “unplugged time” for an hour or two. If you do have a sudden brainstorm about something you’re working on, jot it down on a piece of paper and come back to it when you’re plugged in again.
- Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. We all have been there: saying yes to an array of things because we felt obligated or pressured to do so, even though we were already overextended with our own responsibilities. Remember, you don’t have to explain or justify to anyone else why you’re not able to do something. Making time for yourself is not selfish; it’s self-care.
- Cut down on multi-tasking when possible. It’s easy to fall into the habit of CONSTANTLY multi-tasking, but make a conscious effort to try to focus on one thing only while you do it, even if it’s only for one thing on your to-do list. You might find that you’re more effective and focused, allowing you to knock it out more quickly than usual.
- Eat slower. Especially when we’re stressed or busy, we tend to grab food on-the-go, or eat while working. We don’t even realize how quickly we’re eating. Take the time to prepare a meal, sit down with no distractions, and eat slowly, really tasting the food and the ingredients. This also helps your body realize it’s full more quickly.
- Remember to breathe. When we’re distracted, busy, or stressed, we tend to breathe more shallowly or even hold our breath. Remember to take a minute to breathe slowly, in and out. You don’t even have to commit to a full minute or mini-meditation – even just one or two deep breaths can help you refocus.
- Schedule nothing. By this, I mean actually schedule a block of time to do nothing. For Type-A personalities, this can make you a bit twitchy in the beginning. Start with just a half hour of “nothing.” If you have small kids, take this time to play with them. Spend some quality time with a partner. Take a nap. Or just sit and think.
- Start the day off slow. Many of us wake up, maybe hit the snooze button, check our phones and social media apps, perhaps shoot off an email reply or two, and get up and fling ourselves headlong into our day. What if we woke up 15 minutes earlier, and let ourselves lie in bed and just breathe, easing ourselves into the day? Don’t look at your phone. Try simply charging your phone in another room so it’s not the first thing you see in the morning or the last thing you see before falling asleep. Take time in the morning to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee or tea, without rushing. This can help set the tone for the day.
- Remember, you can always reset. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing. If you realize at some point in the day that you’re starting to rush, or that you could use a break, that’s great! Take a minute to see how you can slow down and what would benefit you most in the moment, and go from there.
Slowing down can also include finding ways to work more efficiently, so you don’t have to spend as much time on a task. Let us help! Our team of experts can assist you with editing and formatting, statistics, and coaching. Most of our packages include feedback on your work, which can help identify your strengths and challenges, assisting you to work more effectively on your dissertation. Professional editing can also help target areas that need further work, saving you time wondering where to start or where to go from a certain point. Our consultations and coaching and our research services can further assist you with focused, targeted planning to help free up your time and help you work smarter, not harder. Contact us today to learn more about how we can be of assistance!