Deborah Hill Cone

Deborah Hill Cone is a Herald columnist

Deborah Hill Cone: Sometimes it's smart to be slow

9 comments

These days you have to be hyped-up and blissed out simultaneously ... but slow down and think.

Counter-intuitively, sometimes slowing down is the smartest step to getting more done in the long-run. Photo / Thinkstock
Counter-intuitively, sometimes slowing down is the smartest step to getting more done in the long-run. Photo / Thinkstock

The other day I was in the Parnell library and picked up a book called In Praise of Slow.

I speed read it in about 10 minutes, put it back and thought: "That was good, make a note to be more Zen when I've got time - oops, I'm late." I may have been missing the point.

Journalist Carl Honore got the idea for the book when he was rushing through an airport and saw a book of one-minute bedtime stories. He snapped it up - and then was aghast at himself and his rushaholism and how he was even trying to speed up what is meant to be precious quiet time with his kids.

The slow movement has grown apace - ha ha - since then with a worldwide recognition that fast is not always better.

I thought about the slo-mo thing when I read the story of Guy Hallwright, the respected analyst who has been charged after a road rage altercation that left a man with two broken legs.

The case has yet to go to court so the facts are not clear, but I am willing to bet you an annoying velvet Singing Reindeer - who invents these things? - that Hallwright works under some brutal time pressure in his job and that it is difficult to switch that off when he walks out the door.

I know how he feels.

For a while, I ran a newsroom and any unfortunate staff blessed with slow metabolic rates used to drive me crazy. Speed it up, people. I used to get all huffy if I was walking down the street behind a person who ambled. C'mon Noddy! Don't dawdle ya moron! I could quite possibly have been arrested for pavement rage.

I quite liked being angry. It was invigorating.

Then I had kids and, by necessity, I am now the annoying footler - one-minute bedtime stories aside, kids invariably will slow you down.

There is now slow food, slow sex, even slow journalism, but apart from Slingshot's call centre there doesn't seem to be any slow business initiative. Except for bureaucrats.

They are taking the slow business approach to John Key's project to turn this country into a tax-free hub for financial services.

Last week, Key had a spaz-ette about how long the Ministry of Economic Development is taking to work on the proposal.

While we have been chin-stroking on the Terrace, the Australians have slashed tax on managed funds and introduced a plan to make funds management into a significant export sector industry.

No wonder Key feels like shouting out the Beehive window: "Oi, Type B cardie-wearers, get a move on." Presumably, breaking the legs of the slow-poke bureaucrats is not an option.

But the counter-intuitive thing is that sometimes it is the slow-seeming person who gets the most done, not the person with the pulsing veins in his temple.

These days you have to be hyped-up and blissed out - simultaneously. The smartest business people have always been those who advocated thinking time, when they downed tools and allowed themselves to ponder what they were really trying to achieve.

It's easy to forget that in the big end of town at this time of year with so much pressure and deadlines and parties and expectations and hangovers.

And after my meditation class those singing reindeer need a bullet.

dhc@deborahhillcone.com

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 01 Oct 2014 03:30:39 Processing Time: 542ms