The Power of Slow

Embracing time so you have more of it

How to design your pockets of win

Seek out moments of yes in your day.

On November 6, 2009, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its most recent data on unemployment in the United States. It has reached 10.2%, the highest rate since April 1983. In fact, it was reported that 9.3 million people are involuntarily working part-time as a result of the economy.

With all the depressing news of today's economic forecast, it is no wonder people feel time is not a positive in their lives. With 'too much time on their hands' people are left feeling unproductive and unfulfilled.

The power of slow addresses time as friend for the super busy and for the super bored. Having lived through six months of unemployment in my own family, I understand how hard it can be to organize your life into meaningful chunks when times are tight.

One of the things my husband and I did during those dire moments was rent a yoga video from the library. We could walk to our local branch, which saved on gas, and check out a free video for the week. After we put the kids to bed, we would do the thirty-minute workout to clear our minds and cleanse our souls. It helped tremendously to work off the stress unemployment can bring.

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At a recent talk at the New York Public Library mid-Manhattan branch, an underemployed actor asked me what she could do with all the time she had at her disposal. She spent hours playing solitaire on her computer. It was a devil's circle. The more bored she became, the more time she spent playing meaningless rounds of video games.

So here's a slow tip. Design pockets of win in your life. Whether you are overstretched at work or underutilized, create situations in your life in which you know you will win to keep up your momentum. For instance, when I know I'm going to have a particularly challenging week, I'll place something on eBay that I know will sell. Then, in my moments of despair, I check in on how the auction is going. On other occasions I may cull through my book shelves and donate a few items to the local library. Passing things on can lift your mood automatically, granting you the necessary perspective to keep going. 

Perhaps your pocket of win is volunteering, working with animals or gardening. Sometimes that pocket of win can be as simple as an ice cream sundae shared with your best friend. Whatever it is, seek out those moments of yes in your day. It will help you sustain your energy and your mood as you transition from this moment to what's next.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.

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