Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stop Scrambling, says Richard Carlson

cover of book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work

No, Richard Carlson isn't talking about how we cook our eggs. Rather, he's talking about the speed at which we run through our days.

Here's what he wrote in Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work:
For many people, there are essentially only two speeds - fast and faster. It seems that, most of the time, we are scrambling around, moving very quickly, doing three or four things at once. Often we are only paying partial attention or half listening to the people we are working with. Our minds are cluttered and overly busy. ...

I'd estimate that I operate at about half the speed I did ten years ago. However, I get about twice as much work accomplished! It's actually quite remarkable how much you can do when you're calm and collected. ... It's often the case that you'll get more done in less time when you stop scrambling so much.


SueBK said...

I'm sure different people have different ways of achieving this wonderful calm. I often read wonderful advice like this and then think "BUT TELL ME HOW". LOL.

I find clutter is my answer. I need a) an uncluttered mind - which means putting everything on paper or electrons. My husband says he doesn't need a diary 'cause its all in his head. I find though, if I try to keep everything in my head, I keep revisting it over and over to make sure I haven't forgotten something. Once its on paper (or in my PDA) I can wipe my mind clear and actually focus on the task at hand.

And b) I need an uncluttered physical environment. Before I start any project I cleaned up my space. I can not function in a cluttered mess. Again, I end up feeling like a hamster in a wheel, running a million miles an hour and going nowhere. And it doesn't matter whether I'm sewing, cooking or working - my space has to be clean and tidy when I start.

I would be interested to know what other tips people use to achieve this state of high functioning calm.

Jeri Dansky said...

SueBK, you could be channeling David Allen (of Getting Things Done fame) when you talk about getting everything out of your head and onto paper (or into your PDA). That's exactly what he recommends, and he talks about how your mind can then relax, knowing everything is in a "trusted system."

Silvia said...

SueBK, twenty years ago I had a teacher a very talent German artist, who used to do everything in a very slow pace. I don't know anyone who have left so many works and left such a deep influence in so many people as he did. Or, better to say, there are one or two others I think can be put at his side or even surpass him in influence and work, and they were always calm, and by no means had a fast rhythm. So, in my case, I had good examples and some training. But I must try harder to move slowly and be productive ; )

I did a course an year ago and repeated it, which I can suggest you:
"Working with your Attention", To DO Institute, Gregg Krech is the director and the link is here:

During the course, no matter the exercise assigned for the day, I had this quality of time being expanded while I was working in a slow and concentrated way.

Good luck!
from Brazil

Susan Culligan said...

What a treat to read something so true, just at a time when I'm consciously slowing down as a way to both retain my sanity and actually get done the things that are most important, while jettisoning or postponing everything that's not.

It's funny how quickly I've slowed down (pun intended). I made this decision about a month ago, and I find that, without missing anything that really needs to get done, I'm less stressed, getting more done, and having a much more enjoyable life!!! It's quite amazing.

Terrific post, thanks as always Jeri,

Jeri Dansky said...

Silvia, as always, thank you for your comments - and for working through your problematic connection to do so!

Susan, I'm so glad to hear this was meaningful for you - and that you've been successful in your efforts to make such big changes in your life.