Why You Need to Slow Down Your Work … Right Now (+Bulletproof Coffee)

Slow Work

So I was making bulletproof coffee this morning.

If you haven’t experienced this magic for yourself, it’s a concoction of coffee and butter and some other things and it results in the most magical-tasting beverage you could ever imagine.

I love it more than my own life. I mean really, it’s nothing short of miraculous. I can’t even. Did I mention it was miraculous? Preeeeetty sure I did, but it’s worth saying again.

However, as with everything in life, the road to bulletproof coffee does not always run smooth.

This particular morning, I forgot to close the blender all the way and spewed coffee everywhere, including onto my iPhone. Plus, I couldn’t find a big enough mug, so I had to use the mug we store old batteries in, and was frantically washing it out (so as to, you know, not drink battery acid) while I was on deadline to make a phone call.

I couldn’t give up the task, of course. Because, bulletproof coffee.

But the whole time, I was fervently thinking to myself, Good Lord I wish this would all go faster.

And isn’t that what we spend so much of our time thinking? That if life could just go faster, we’d get more out of it? That if each task could go faster, we would be better and happier and more productive individuals?

The Case for Slow Work

Yet I don’t think that’s true. This morning, I realized one simple truth with stunning clarity:

Work should not be faster.

If you think about your most productive days, you’re rarely banging things out “quickly.” Usually, the day feels slower, because you’re fully immersed in what you’re doing, you’re creating at a higher level than usual and the work just seems to take care of itself.

Those are the days I treasure more than anything else. Those are the days that fulfill me, that send me to bed at night with gratitude in my soul and remind me why I’ve chosen to be a writer for a living.

Those are the days I want more of.

It turns out, though my blinding brilliance briefly convinced me this was an original insight, slow work is not my idea.

In his piece for TIME, slow work revolutionary Peter Bacevice writes, “It is increasingly clear that our personal and professional lives stand to benefit from change that eases these mounting pressures and strains. It is time to embrace ‘slow work.’”

I could not agree more. While hustle is important, and marketing is important, and connections and bravery and PUTTING IT ALL OUT THERE RIGHT NOW AND CHOOSING YOURSELF AND MAKING IT HAPPEN are important …

… it’s not all there is.

I need slow work, my friend. And so do you.

(Oh, and hey, if you want a few more guides on rocking your writing biz and making all you can of your work, I recommend checking out the Free Resource Library. Just click that image below.)

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How to Slow Down Your Work Day

While the concept may seem a little alien to us creative types, hustlin’ for a livin’, it’s not actually that hard to do. It’s simply a matter of:

  1. Taking deep breaths when life feels overwhelming
  2. Refusing to give into the insane inner voice that urges you to finish it all now
  3. Getting over that bad habit of rushing through work that you love most, or …
  4. Rushing work that you want to be really good, “but don’t have time to perfect”
  5. Pausing to see what you’ve accomplished

This last one is really important.

Today on a phone call with one of my business associates (I’m so stoked to finally be able to use that phrase in a sentence), she said to me: “I know you probably feel scattered and not put together just like everyone else, but I want you to know that, from the outside, you are so polished and inspiring. I’m so grateful to get to work with someone like you.”

The whole time, I was looking over my shoulder with a “who me?” mentality. Because I never feel put together or polished.

Not without about an hour spent in front of the mirror, anyway, and that only lasts till the next pissing rain.

But I realized … wow, someone thinks this about me. It must be at least partially true. Why don’t I spend more time enjoying this fact?

I should, and so should you. When all is said and done, work is a huge part of life. And we only get one of those.

(Or, if you’re like me and believe in reincarnation, you only get one you’ll remember without spending thousands of dollars on hypnotherapy bills.)

It’s time we slow things down and work for the real reason we work: because we love it.

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