Sunday, June 9, 2013

Monday Mantra: Command Your Time- Part 2

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Slow it down

On a recent flight home, I read an article in the Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine by David Hochman titled Not So Fast. In it, he describes his month long  adventure, Slowvember as it was called, with his family of slowing things down, connecting with people personally instead of through technology, and getting outside and enjoying the world instead of plopping down in front of a Facebook page for hours on end.

To ensure he and his family stayed on track, he created the S-L-O-W principles:

S- Savor: Appreciating time rather than counting it down. His example for this was instead of rushing through bath time with his kids, he was imagining what it would be like 10 years from now looking back on the fun moments of them making bubble beards in the tub. He would miss those joyous moments, so he wanted to savor in them now.

L- Listen to your inner clock: Because the world we live in is super fast, super busy, we tend to push ourselves towards that level of intensity too, even when our bodies and our minds don't want to or need to go that fast. His idea here was to take the "one-thing-at-a-time" approach. Instead of eating dinner while watching TV, they would provide all of their attention at dinner time to the people involved and the things they had to say.

O- Others before technology: I loved this one. No divided attention between your phone and a person. He took this task on so seriously that he said no social networking for the month- a full disconnect to ensure human interaction is happening. He even cited a that a study showed Americans spending 53.5 BILLION minutes on Facebook alone in May of 2011. That's a lot of minutes in just one month.

W- Will it matter a year from now?: His example was one that was so valid it brought tears to my eyes. His aging father had mentioned to him that Cirque du Soleil was in town and that "it would be nice to see it" with him and his grandson. Because his father suffers from Parkinson's disease, Hochman's immediate reaction was to not go because of the complications of getting everyone there and the overall expense. However, when he applied his "Will it matter a year from now?" principle, he realized that this time spent would be more valuable than most. That this time spent to create this memory together would matter many years to come.

When Hochman and his family first started on their little adventure, they ended up cutting things out only to replace them with new time consumers. He ended up meeting with Carl Honore, apparently the King of Slow, who said, "One of the ironies is we're impatient about how we slow down...people say 'My life's too fast, ' so they sign up for yoga, meditation, and expect to have the inner calm of the Dalai Lama by Saturday afternoon."

Hochman went on to discover some interesting things in his Slowvember month. He enjoyed saying "no" to things that he would normally say "yes" to out of concern of rejecting something or someone. His time became valuable to him, to his family, to their new way of life. He found that it was much easier to really listen and talk to people, to really connect with them, something that cannot truly be done through texting or Facebook.

One night, he and his family even had a big dinner with their close friends and family, and spent the whole day prepping, cooking, talking, and sharing in the making of memories of this slow and satisfying meal. At the close of his personal slow study, he found that he would miss the month that lay behind him, but that he had created habits of slowness that would stay with him for those busy times to come.

He also mentioned that there are Slow Cities in our good 'ole US of A, where those living there make a "conscious effort to chat, stroll, sip, linger, and otherwise ease their way around town rather than just trudge." Fascinating, if you ask me. Those cities have to meet 61 Slow Standards, along with a few other requirements, to be recognized as an official Slow City. I can tell you right now, I do not live in a Slow City but I have been to one and the quality of life is better...easier, less stressful, wonderful.

I was so enthralled with his article that I permanently borrowed the magazine (please don't arrest me, I paid for the flight after all) so I could reference it for you and for myself later in life, if ever I forget what's really important.

Along with this article, in a recent class project, my team and I researched the psychological effects of Facebook use. Our findings were fascinating. Multiple research studies done by Cyberpsychology, as well as other psychology resources, found that Facebook use leads to depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and loneliness. Since most of the posts people put on their pages are happy, successful ones - someone got a new job, went on vacation, got married - those reading them who are not having these experiences feel left out, behind schedule, or like their life is off track and lacking in good things. Even without that being a key concern, Facebook is, as we all know, a huge waste of time (good and bad, depending). Next time you realize you've just spent an hour on Facebook when you could've been spending time with a loved one, remember the "Will this matter a year from now?" principle and I'm sure you'll have the answer you need on what you need to do next.

Slowness is something generations to come may never know if we don't make a habit of finding the slow path to satisfaction. Truly and effectively connecting with people may be lost if all we do is rely on social networking to reach out and minimize our in-person interactions. Time well spent is time spent on those things that matter, years from now. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to try out a slower way of life.

The full article by David Hochman can be found here for your reading pleasure. 

Would you ever implement a Slowvember in your house?


Related Post:
(Not a) Monday Mantra (but I'll explain): Command Your Time- Part 1

Image via Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine

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