THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Mindfulness: Slow down, and watch success bloom

I'm in the midst of dumping my happiness obsession for something else. My yoga teacher always told me that being mindful would make me happy– if I'd just try it. Then I got this book in the mail: The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World. I liked the book so much that I asked the author, Christine Louise Hohlbaum, to share some lessons about going slow.

1. Learn to say no with panache

"One of the biggest time sucks in our lives is saying ‘yes' to something we should have declined," she says. "Taking on that extra project at work, organizing the blood drive (again), or accepting yet another party invitation can eat up your time you could have spent doing something you truly love. We have been conditioned to believe ‘no' is an evil word, when, in fact, it is a complete sentence."

2. Watch your words

This is the advice that initially hooked me: Hohlbaum says: "Busy is the new fine." It's true. Someone asks, "How are you?" and you say, "Busy." Can you see how messed up that is? It's a script, right? The person doesn't really care how you are. The person wants to just hear that you're fine and move on to the meat and potatoes of the conversation. So if you say busy, you are either saying you do not understand the social convention of opening niceties (very bad to say) or you are saying that busy is the new fine (also very bad to say). Busy is not fine. Busy is too much going on to be your best self. So stop talking about it.

3. Honor "set-up time"

You know the feeling. You return from a week's vacation to a mountain of work that piled up in your absence. It takes you three days just to slog through it all, and you wonder why you even bothered to leave in the first place. We have the expectation that we should be able to jump right back into what we were doing at a rapid pace. Not so. Every project requires set-up time. Honor the time it takes to get started. It is not about procrastination. It is about wading into the task at hand. It is no wonder you get your best ideas in the shower. You are relaxed and stress-free. Set-up time allows you to tap into your deepest thinking. Make room for it in your life— it will contribute more to your success than pushing through with no stops.

4. Save the best for last

"Procrastination is a huge time-killer. You spend most of your time worrying about what you haven't started, pushing it into the recess of your mind. Instead, start saving the best for last. Tackle the hardest project earlier in the day. Reward yourself with your favorite project at the end."


I love this advice in a book about slow, because it's not just a way to get your stuff done. It's a way to slow time down. If you are procrastinating, time goes so much faster than if you have your most important stuff done.


Penelope Trunk has started several companies and worked for many more.