For many of us, this pandemic has ushered in a new set of circumstances that we have no control over. Whether it's employment status, availability of childcare, or our ability to socialize with our peers, we are making it work in extraordinary circumstances. A big part of that has been enforced slowing down. Without the ability to go out on the weekends, we're staying home. Even when working from home, the pace of work has had to adapt to certain limitations.
In the midst of all this change, experts and non-experts alike are asking what this moment can teach us. Many people have been taking this time to learn new skills. While this is not an opportunity that is afforded to everyone (like essential workers who are carrying us through), the lessons learned may be something that is bigger than this moment. What are the benefits of slowing down? And, are they worst investing in?
Something that is lost in an environment where the pace is always high speed is the ability to take stock and reflect. While momentum is undeniably important in business, so is learning and reflection. Learning is, in fact, an often deliberately slow process. In order to actually absorb the information we're learning, we need to be able to give ourselves time to sit with it. This can mean 1 hour or it can mean 10 minutes, depending on what it is we're doing.
The benefits of learning, however, are ten-fold. The example I'll use is the one I'm most familiar with, as a writer at AlertDriving. Learning to drive is a slow process. It requires us to slow down and learn to hone our instincts when we are behind the wheel. The time we take out of our schedule to learn to drive will lay the foundations for our behaviours going forward. It's time well spent.
The example of learning to drive illustrates the point, but is perhaps too basic for what I'm trying to get at here. After all, the readers of this blog are already interested in driving (and likely know how to drive). But let's push the example further. What would it look like to take time out of our busy schedules to refresh, relearn, or learn new things in the fields that we're in? Taking time out to do so will inevitably slow us down, even if only for a brief amount of time, but the benefits justify it. At AlertDriving, for example, we've built our reputation on the belief that when drivers set aside time, whether it be daily or weekly or whatever else, to take training, they'll drive safer. And that belief has borne fruit. Companies who use our training have less collisions, after all.
While the world changes pace in order to deal with the crisis of COVID, it's good to remember that slowing down does not mean that we can't be productive. To the contrary, slowing down, if we let it, can help us catch up and do better.