Managing Self Time

The case for slowing down

Written by Jill Farmer

In one ear splitting second, an entire stack of my favorite glass bowls shattered on the floor.

In the rush of quickly grabbing something off a shelf as I moved ahead to the next thing, I had carelessly knocked them off.  It took me a while to clean up the explosion of broken glass.

When I get into motion, the speed is almost always f-a-s-t.

There can be a low level of impatience in almost everything I do.

I am often thinking ahead to the next thing or thinking about something else I could be doing simultaneously.

I hurry.

As an attorney, time is always money. So, the pressure may feel like it’s always on for you to do things quickly. Almost every lawyer I know multitasks—reading and responding to e-mail during CLE’s or client calls, scanning accident reports while watching a movie with the kids,  even reading briefs while going to the bathroom (TMI, I know).

Here’s the problem.

Science keeps proving the brain can’t multitask.

“Every time you try to force it to multitask, you end up collapsing certain systems. You can show that people on projects who try to multitask make twice as many errors and it takes them twice as long to get something done, “ John Medina, developmental molecular biologist.

Lawyers sometimes panic at the thought of slowing down. But, making mistakes or omissions can be far costlier than the extra 15 minutes it takes you to slow your pace.

An increased number of errors is just the tip of the iceberg in rushing-related consequences of modern life.

Being in a hurry is usually associated with being under stress.

Stress has a huge detrimental effect on our health and well-being. It increases your risk of cardiac issues, autoimmune disorders, and it often makes you fat, to name just a few issues.

In his book The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy and Weight Loss, author Marc David says, “In the moment the stress response is activated, heart rate speeds up, blood pressure increases, respiration quickens, hormones that provide immediate energy such as adrenaline… and cortisol are released into the circulatory system. Most importantly, the digestive system shuts down.”

And then, there’s the literal and metaphorical favorite glass bowls that crash to the ground when we rush.

Try it.  SLOW down.

Do. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

You’ll get more done that way. You’ll feel better. You’ll make fewer mistakes.

I promise.

About the author

Jill Farmer

I love helping people get more meaningful work done in less time. I am the author of "There's Not Enough Time... and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves" which debuted as a bestseller in the Time Management Category on Amazon. In 2015, The Washington Post named me to its 21-Day Time Hacker team. I travel the world delivering keynotes and seminars for top corporations and organizations. I am also a wife and the mother of two teens and I have the two worst-behaved dogs in the universe. You can reach me at or visit my website

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