Remember: Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

When I first joined the company where I’m working right now, I was a little tense. I wanted to perform well. I mean, isn’t that a natural thing? The new guy wants to prove himself. But there was a problem.

I hadn’t yet gained my sea legs. I was wobbling all over the place, trying to meet deadlines that were easy for others.

My company didn’t approve of overtime (which is completely unheard of where I’m from), so I was squeezing as much work as I could in those 8-hour days. Or at least trying to. Where the end of the day was a sanctuary for others, it was like a door slammed shut in front of my face when I’ve been running to make it through. I couldn’t work fast enough. I couldn’t keep up.

After talking to my girlfriend about my troubles, she mentioned something so plain it bewildered me. (I understand the next part might sound like toxic work/hustle culture but bear with me).

I’m working from home. When the day officially ends on my work clock, she mentioned that it doesn’t mean I have to get off work strictly. I could take a few more minutes to wrap up what I was working on even when I was technically going “overtime.” Realizing this had an interesting effect on me.

When I clocked in to work the following days, I wasn’t as stressed anymore since I knew the end of the day wasn’t exactly “the end of the day.” But then, since I was more relaxed, I ended up finishing my work before the end of the day! That didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t even change anything. But then I thought about it more.

I realized that a lot of the pressure I was feeling was self-imposed. I was pushing myself too hard. I looked around and saw that things aren’t as strict as they are in my head.

I learned that, if you dropped your shoulders and relaxed, you’ll perform much smoother than if you tensed up and pushed crazy hard.

And, as Greg McKeown writes in Effortless, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

This post was originally published on The Freyncis Newsletter.

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Content writer. Graphic designer. Meal-finisher. Seinfeld enjoyer.

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Francis Alcantara

Content writer. Graphic designer. Meal-finisher. Seinfeld enjoyer.