Slowly, but not surly

A recent TV find for us is a show called "The Craftsman." The title person is a gifted, elderly woodworker who can seemingly repair and restore seemingly anything. Going 12 miles per hour from his workshop to a jobsite in a beat-up van puffing on his pipe, he relishes the neighborliness of his hometown, Eureka, CA. In the last episode we watched, he said, "Slow before quality. Never the other way around." With shaky hands and a smoky cough, his strength is in perfection not speed.

If you are doing something meaningful, then it is not difficult to give all you have to that project and feel good about it. Research shows that motivation is directly linked to the meaningfulness of a goal and the working conditions under which it is being pursued. Perhaps this is why craftspeople and artists rarely complain about overwork.

In other words, doing something slowly with energy—so long as it is skillful—is as significant as noticing the fullness of your being.

Let's look at just some of the reasons slow works:

1. Mindfulness. When you do something slowly, you can pay more attention to that process. When you make changes, do them mindfully, with full concentration. Increased awareness becomes part of forming the groove. Later, it’ll become automatic. Paying attention now means being slow, deliberate and mindful.

2. You learn it right. Doing something slowly means you can learn to do it correctly, without being erratic, and later as it becomes second nature you’ll be wasting less time and effort as you do it the way it's supposed to be done.

3. Increased focus. As a multi-tasker, this is something I'm still learning. And it doesn't apply to every moment, but I know that when I single-task, my clarity increases as well as patience on the project at hand. This always leads to increased effectiveness.

4. Calm. Slow is calmer. Fast is hectic and takes more energy. Go slow to get rid of the chaos and peace will find you.

“Slow down, everyone. You’re moving too fast.” – Jack Johnson