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Slow Project Week 2: Epic Failure This Week

Slow Project Week 2: Epic Failure This Week

As I wrote about last week, I have been trying to slow down, to stop and enjoy all the things that I have been missing as I speed through my days. So, I decided to embark on a little adventure and report on my progress on each of the ideas I talked about, along with what I have learned along the way, possibly adding some other ideas and tips I get along the way.

I started the week out strongly and seemed to have really gotten used to following the first of my slow goals, Take time to relax every day!  And, as I mentioned I was going to do, I had a lovely lunch with a friend, and although we might have talked about possible work projects, we focused more on getting to know each other and we did manage to stick to our pact about no work during lunch.

During the first part of the week, I also stopped to take breaks from my work, going out to the garden or the park to breathe and appreciate the beauty surrounding me.

However, come day four, I stumbled badly. Since it is week two I was going to add Goal #2 to my repertoire: Try to only focus on one thing and only do one thing at a time.

I really failed at this one. And, it is because I have taken on too much and often there are multiple things to do at one time or one place. For example, I love my local farmers’ market, I have friends there, I buy food there; it’s a great community place. I am a volunteer there, albeit not a regular one, but I do the newsletter, which I am currently working on.

I also teach senior gardening classes at my local hospital, something I also love very much. And, since I always try to save trips and time, I figured I would buy my herb seedlings for my classes from my favorite vendor at the farmer’s market. So, I found myself rushing to get photos, interviews with farmers, plants, and my own shopping done, all before the market ended.

Instead of bringing me the enjoyment it usually does, being there completely stressed me out and led me to realize just how much of a multi-tasker I have become. It’s almost like I am the “Little Engine That Could,” that once I get going and speed up, I just can’t seem to apply the brakes.

As I try to remember to slow down, I keep realizing the root of my constant feeling of rushing from thing to thing is that I simply over commit and am involved in too many things. For so long I have prided myself on being able to juggle many things at once, I can’t stop doing it.

So, while it was not one of my original slow goals, “Do Less” is certainly now at the top of my list, and seems to be the one that will make the biggest impact on whether I can meet any of the other goals I have set for myself.

I am sure to other people, the answer is obvious: “just stop doing so much.” But this is an issue I have struggled with for a long time. It is such a part of who I am, that I am trying to figure out where to start.

And, I think sharing my own struggle with this so publicly might just be the thing that finally gets me to make the change. For those of you who have struggled and overcome, I know that I and other Care2 members would love to hear how you did it.

I will report next week on how my progress is coming, wish me luck!

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

28 comments

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7:56AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

thanks

4:58AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

I'm reading this so long after the event, but I do hope you've let up on yourself a bit!

I think Marilyn's quotation goes something like this: Yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision but today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

I know this by heart because my grandparents had this up in their hall for many years and I always used to read it as I left their house.

8:11PM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

I admire you for wanting to take time for yourself but you seem like a very outgoing person. It's great that you are so involved in the farmer's market with volunteering and everything. Maybe just try one step at a time when it comes to relaxing. If keeping busy makes you happy, then by all means-embrace it! I work two jobs but a lot of times I feel like I am "too" relaxed and should be taking more initiative to keep busy!

11:29AM PDT on Jun 24, 2010

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that epic failures are regular (re) occurrences ...
Just had one today. ;)

7:21AM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

Haveing been on the receiving end of a multi-taskers over schedualing themselves and ending up wasting my time waiting for him, plus getting shorted on quaulity of work and time, repeatedly, I ended the relationship. So please realize, those of you who take such pride in 'getting so much done', you may be fooling yourself into thinking what you do is far more valuable than it really is. If you're not present when you do something but allowing your mind to run ahead of where you are, your contribution will suffer, and any employer who expects someone to put in 70 hours a week should be arested for forceing slave labor by threatening loss of the job.And fined heavily. How do such stupid people get to be boss's ?How good do you think the quality of work coming out of that place will be?

5:40AM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

Doing less is very hard, at first. But it becomes easier with time. Paired with it is 'lower your expectations' and 'perfection is not necessary'. I've been working on it consciously for half a year now - and involuntarily for a year when I was injured. I will probably still need another 6-8 months to really get the hang of it and be able to do it without huge guilt feelings.

5:03AM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

I'm like one of the commenters who gets involved in her college activities. I also am in college but I'm 56 and have multiple disabilities. I get very excited about joining things and find myself exhausted by the end of the day and still with homework to do. So I decided to skip summer classes and just relax. I have a ton of books I wanted to read. So what did I do? Signed up for a Summer II Internet class. Why, because I am bored! There's something good about multi-tasking. But, like everything, taken overboard will grind you down. "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get" Old quote we learned as kids that really is true.

2:05AM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

I think it's fine to do a lot, as long as you take time out for yourself as well. In my job, if I didn't multitask, NOTHING would get done unfortunately. However, when I go home, I forget about the day (most of the time), and relax with my family. Sometimes, if I have the energy, I indulge in working on a hobby. My latest goal is to do something creative everyday: writing, painting, drawing, anything...Let's hope I can!

12:36AM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

Uh hem...Making up your mind to change something doesn't mean it will happen immediately! You're on the path ( not to mention inspiring all of us) and that's the important thing.

11:57PM PDT on Jun 22, 2010

One quick and easy tip: Be realistic about how long it will take you to accomplish each task.

It's easy to get involved in too much if you think everything takes less time than what it actually does. For example, buying the weekly groceries may not take between 20-30 mins, maybe it's a 10 min walk to the store, 20-30 mins looking for the things you need, plus 10 mins in line, plus the walk back. In the end, it's more like 50 mins - 1 hour. If you had planned meeting someone after grocery shopping, you'll find yourself rushing and stressed.

When you plan for something, give yourself time to do it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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