It’s not uncommon knowledge that we live in a world where “fast” is the name of the game, and “faster” is something we all aspire to achieve. You see it at work, with job ads that list the “ability to work in a fast-paced environment” as a primary qualification. You see prepared dinners that take no more than 10 minutes to cook and serve. You even see it in things that were originally meant to not be fast, like practicing yoga!
In the age of drive-thru this and quick-fix that, it seems imperceptible that Carl Honoré’s first audio program advocates a lifestyle that’s the opposite. Yet, in The Power of Slow: Finding Balance and Fulfillment beyond the Cult of Speed (Sounds True, $24.95), Honoré explains just how, in taking things slow, you actually are able to accomplish things faster while improving the quality of the output.
The heart of the problem, he argues, is that we don’t do things while we’re in the zone—we fail to give just one thing our full, undivided attention. (Blame it on the need to resolve things quickly that we tend to deal with everything all at once.) By putting “mental brakes” on day-to-day activities, we see things in their full breadth, thus making us better equipped to finish the task at hand.
The first hurdle? Honoré asks that you don’t listen to the program while you’re engaged in something else, like making dinner, working out, even driving home. It makes sense: You’re learning how to focus on just one thing at a given moment.
The three-hour disc guides you to different aspects in your life that will benefit from slowing down. At work, Honoré suggests that we don’t multi-task, even though it’s very tempting to do so. Prioritize the most pressing deadline and ensure it’s done before you move to the next. You’ll see that your output is better compared to if you’re rushing and juggling many things. In a relationship, go back to the “Honeymoon Period,” when everything that your partner did interested you—and you’ll find renewed affection for each other. Finally, in food, take the time to sit down and eat. By savoring each bite and appreciating the heart that came in preparing the meal, you not only become satisfied with a small amount of food (a weight-loss tactic), but you also re-establish the joys of eating.
And yes, this article was written while employing Honoré’s tips.