Slowing Down: Actions

Things to start

In my last post, I summarized a talk, Slowing Down, that I had facilitated recently at Agile Open Northwest.  There was a fair amount of interest in the topic and some folks mentioned that I should do a follow on session focused on specific things we could do to start slowing down. It was a call to action. Once again, I walked into the session with very little idea of what would happen and how it would all work out.

The Session

The session got off to a bit of a funny start. I started by giving an introduction to the session, and creating some posters, and taping them up, and balancing my first cup of coffee for the morning – all at the same time. Yes, you got it – I was a multi-tasking madman! Of course I promptly tipped my precious coffee into the box of supplies, thereby destroying the supplies for the session and depriving myself of the coffee I so desperately needed. I couldn’t have put together a better demonstration of attempting too much if I had tried. After that little disaster, I slowed down a bit. We decided to put together two lists: Things to start, and things to stop. Here is what we came up with (in no particular order):

Things to Start

  • Ignoring email
  • Make a list and then throw it away
  • Doodle
  • Completing actions
  • Schedule empty space
  • Intentionally doing nothing
  • Reducing my WIP
  • Turn off email for 1-2 hours per day
  • Using Pomodoro more regularly
  • Get a dog
  • Draw a picture
  • Gratitude
  • Listening to music each day
  • Exercise – setup yoga with group or something else with coworkers
  • Start reading more about Agile
  • Observe my thoughts without judgement
  • Start acting like a toddler
  • Reading for fun
  • Walking slow
  • Notice my breath and how it feels
  • Eating lunch NOT at your desk
  • Watching grass grow
  • Amble
  • Phone stacking at lunches and dinners and meetings
  • Being present
  • Watch waves roll in
  • Saying single sentences only
  • Finishing things
  • Reward slow actions

Things to Stop

Things to stop

  • Stop carrying laptop
  • Stop reading more than 2 paragraphs
  • Stop burying the lead in emails
  • Multi-tasking
  • Don’t go to Agile 2013
  • Stop reading everything related to the next meeting’s topic. Be prepared to be unprepared.
  • Stop working through the 12:00 hour and go for a walk
  • Stop waiting for permission to initiate change
  • TV
  • Stop reading everything all the time
  • Stop solving problems without asking 3 questions first
  • Stop trying to fill the void of silence first
  • Stop avoiding nagging release issues
  • Stop checking email on my phone every time I have a spare moment
  • Stop checking email before I go to sleep
  • Remember there is always tomorrow…
  • Stop checking IM’s the instant that they arrive
  • When I’m at a conference, stop going to every session. Take time out each day to just go outside
  • Stop having talks longer than 25 minutes
  • Stop bringing anything on a trip that I didn’t use last time
  • Ditch watch
  • Drive less
  • Turn off email
  • Work less by taking a 3 week vacation
  • Imitrex

Recommended books

  • Personal Kanban
  • The Tao of Pooh
  • The Shibumi Strategy
  • The Tao Te Ching
  • Pomodoro Illustrated

Obviously we captured a lot of “stuff” here. Some of it I really like, and other things I will probably never try. I’m committed to trying many of them. I’m still absorbing, so for now I’ll take it one day at a time. Once again, I’m grateful to those who participated in the session. I hope some of these ideas serve as a starting point for others in the same fashion they have for me.

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3 Responses to Slowing Down: Actions

  1. It’s Funny To see you writing stop reading and the list some books… :-)

  2. [...] Slowing Down: Actions Written by: Tom Perry [...]

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