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Slow Down: You're Probably Screwing Up

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I did this crazy thing the other day. It was so out of character. I went to the library.

They had a shelf called "great reads." I went over to it and ran my hand along the modest beat-up walnut. One book stood out. It was old, but I'd always wanted to read it.

New notifications said my cellphone, and then it started beeping. Texts. Annoyed, I put it away.

As a kid, time seemed to crawl. Now, many years later, I realize the value of slowing down.

This month's Harvard Business Review has a cover story called "Managing the High-Intensity Workplace." It's about the strategies people use to deal with an unreasonably demanding environment, which is to say most workplaces these days.

Briefly, most people:

  • Go along and lose their personal lives;
  • Pretend to go along and burn out along the way, ultimately burning out from the stress; or
  • Admit that they're not automatons and get punished. 

Boy, have things changed in just a few decades. And there isn't even a reward for it.

Why exactly are we in school day and night, chasing degrees that yield debt but not a job?

Why are we ignoring our families to work on...you name it. Why don't we make marriages and kids our first priority? (No time.) Why are so many people divorced and then in unhappy relationships?

Why are so many people loudly unhappy at work, toxic to themselves and their colleagues?

Why are so many people quietly unhappy, constantly answering this email and that email, doing this project and that? Without any thanks or appreciation. No reward other than "you get to keep your job?"

It's a sunny day today and I enjoyed feeling the sun on my face, the wind blowing soft and fresh across my body.

If we could just slow down a little bit and leave ourselves alone. We'd be happier and more productive, too.

Here, I give you permission.

Copyright 2016 by Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of her employer or any other organization or entity. 

Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D., is a federal communicator with 20 years' experience in the private sector, academia and government. Best known for her work on branding, Dr. Blumenthal now focuses on the discipline of management, particularly the intersections between identity, culture and communication. She has lectured at a variety of schools including The George Washington University and the University of Maryland University College. In her spare time she is an independent community activist, focused primarily on raising awareness about child sexual abuse and domestic violence. All opinions are her own.

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