I felt convicted this week. I missed some significant opportunities to really slow down and spend some quality time in reflection and thought over how I am spending my time and what I envision for 2016.

On Thursday I was in a devotion where the leader referenced Psalm 90:12 where Moses sends us to God for teaching, to learn to number our days and use them wisely. That made me reflect on a conversation I had with a client earlier in the week, in which the leader shared how his 4 hours sitting in the deer stand was just what was needed to re-energize himself. It provided an awesome time of reflection around the important things of life and the priorities he had on his plate at work. He used this time wisely to number his days!

I thought about the fact that I had taken my computer to the deer stand with me, and caught up on email and work that I needed to do. I had wasted an opportunity.

I often write blogs on subjects that I need to improve on. This is one of them. I need help. I need to slow my pace to enhance my effectiveness and enrich my life.

Slowing down to speed up seems counter-intuitive. Can it really help? I run hard, and I enjoy it. Why should I slow down? There are probably a lot of great reasons:

  • Improved health
  • Sharper focus on what is most important
  • Better awareness of needs around me
  • Enhanced relationships
  • Personal development
  • Enhance my service to others

How do we break free from the mindset of speed? By slowing down at the right moments you can do so many things better. We can enhance our effectiveness in our busy world if we get intentional about taking the time to do these things. Here are some suggestions for making this happen:

  • Do less. Focus on what is really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Schedule space in each day between tasks and appointments.
  • Disconnect. Set aside time each day where you are not tethered to your phone, I-pad, or computer.
  • Focus on people. Take time to invest in spending time with others. Family, friends, co-workers, and those in need will all appreciate your focused presence. Relationships will be enhanced.
  • Appreciate nature. Spend time enjoying God’s creation. This is my most effective lever for slowing down. Leave your devices at home!
  • Read more. All the high-performing people I know are avid readers. Personal development will enhance effectiveness in all aspects of life.
  • Eat slower. Enjoy every bite, appreciating the flavors and textures. Savor the conversations over your food. One of my business mentors, who was Italian taught me a lot on this. Food and dinner is a cherished time for him and his family and friends.
  • Drive slower. Focus on your surroundings; making it a peaceful time to contemplate your life and the things you are passing.
  • Single-task. Yes, the opposite of multi-tasking that so many of us pride ourselves in. Focus on one thing at a time. When you feel the urge to move to other things, pause, and pull yourself back to the task at hand.
  • Pray more. Get into the habit of connecting in conversation with God on a consistent basis. Make prayer your go-to for insuring you slow down to a pace that keeps your priorities in order.

I want to work on each of these items to enhance my effectiveness in serving others in my life. I sense that others may benefit from this as well. Are you with me?

Mark Deterding

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12