On a Skype call with my colleague Daniela in Munich, sweat trickles down her cheeks. The German heat wave.
Yes, it’s August.
When I lived in Manhattan, many firms switched to summertime hours. Short Fridays, long week-ends.
When I lived in Trinidad and Tobago, it was August 365 days a year.
You slow down.
That is one of the gifts of August heat.
Many of us slow down the second we exit a building, switch back to rush-rush mode the moment we’re back inside.
Experiment with slowing down even when the air-conditioning says go ahead, keep rushing. Experience some of the subtle benefits of slower time:
As you walk down the office hallway to a meeting room or kitchenette, walk slower than you normally might. Less briskly, more calmly. You will be more aware of the space around you. Less in your thoughts, more in the physical environment. You will suddenly feel a lot more alert.
Regardless of your regular speech rhythm, have some fun slowing down your speaking pace. This may mean actually speaking more slowly. Pausing a bit longer.
Chances are, what you say will resonate more with your conversation partner. Individual words will pop. Your pauses will allow for deeper absorption by the other party. The entire conversation will settle into a more purposeful exchange.
You likely don’t pay attention to your breath during a regular day. Understood. Pause once in a while for 20, 30 seconds. Observe your breath. Slow down and lengthen your inhale, your exhale.
Then return to the task you are performing, the phone call you are about to make. As your breath slows down, you heighten your enjoyment of the activity you perform.
We know you can multi-task. You get stuff done. Chances are, by the end of the day you don’t remember some of what you did. Efficient and unmemorable. Choose to remember what you’re doing as you’re doing it. Because it actually takes time the day after to recall all the details you forgot.
Surrender to August time this week, not just in the outdoor August heat. As you slow down, you will more keenly experience each aspect of your day.
You will fritter away less time. You will be more mindful of each moment.
That’s the slow-down paradox.
You will actually get more done.