10 Ways to Slow Down in Business (and Why You’d Want to)
Sometimes we just need to slow down. It could be our body telling us it needs a break. It could be our mind experiencing the first signs of burnout. Even if you own your own business, you are subject to burnout, especially if you are a people pleaser or say “yes” to everyone!
But how do we do that? It might have been so long since we’ve changed our pace, we don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips on the best ways to slow down in business.
1. Eliminate wasted time.
Take a deep look at your to-do list. Identify one task that you’ve always done that adds nothing to your business. Does it really need to be done? Try to find tasks that don’t make any sense to do any more that you’re still doing just because you’ve always done it.
You should be able to free up a lot of time! For now, use it to slow down. Take a nap, call a friend, visit your employees with no agenda and really listen, take a walk and smell the roses, or simply hug your child.
2. Get off electronics.
A friend recently suffered from a concussion and her doctor told her to stay off electronics to help her brain heal faster. She limited herself to one hour a day for two months. What would you do if you had to stay off electronics? My friend read all the paperbacks she had that she hadn’t gotten to (for 15 years), cooked more, went shopping for things she had wanted for years, took walks, and learned a new language.
If you spend any time on social media, eliminating it even partially can be a huge pickup in time. Getting off electronics and using that time to get back into nature is healing for everyone.
3. Get enough sleep.
If you are sleep-deprived, everything takes longer. Slowing down and getting enough sleep each night can make you more productive, reducing your work hours. Plus, you just feel more refreshed.
4. Gain a new perspective.
Slowing down your normal routine can help you gain perspective. You might have been fighting fires in the trenches for so long, you’ve forgotten why you’re in business to begin with. Take time to re-connect with your mission, vision, and purpose. Make sure your employees understand their grander goals as well.
5. Avoid multi-tasking.
Almost everyone thinks they are good at multi-tasking, but it turns out science says only a minority percentage of people can really multi-task effectively. Become self-aware of your own habits related to multi-tasking. Do things take longer when you multi-task? Do you make mistakes you have to go back and correct when you multi-task? If so, you may be in the majority of people who simply shouldn’t do it.
6. Stop worrying about billable hours (for service businesses) – at least for a while.
If you are really fixated on billable hours, you may need to just let them go for a while until you can get your perspective back. There is more to life and business than billable hours.
7. Re-connect with your business community.
If there has been no time to connect with your co-owners, customers, and employees, slowing down can provide that time. The most important thing is to simply show up and listen. You will learn a lot!
8. Make time for strategy.
If your business is headed in the wrong direction, that is the ultimate time-waster! Slowing down allows you to re-visit your strategy, making sure you are working on the right projects, that you have the right company culture, and that your business goals are in alignment with your big-picture purpose.
9. Do nothing.
It’s really okay to do nothing when you’re the business owner. You need time to come up with ideas, think about the hard issues, and even daydream. You have to stop working in the business so you can work on the business.
10. Get better at managing distractions.
If you get interrupted every five minutes, you will be drained of energy at the end of your work day. Get smart about managing interruptions so you can be more productive. This will free up more time for you to take breaks and slow your pace during your workday.
Try at least a few of these ideas to slow down before your mind or your body insist on it.
John Thew is President of CRUNCHING NUMBERS, a company founded to help organizations create and manage effective accounting systems. He has over 30 years of experience working with companies in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors helping them to grow top and bottom line revenue.