"Slow Work"--A Lifestyle Conquers The Working World by Morgaine Gerlach at Society 3.0 (from November 23, 2016) describes slow work as a "workplace variation on the popular lifestyle movement "Slow Food." Slow Food has a national and international presence, with a very specific mission. "...to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us." The two main articles I've seen on slow work, the one at Society 3.0 and Slow Down! How "Slow Work" Makes Us More Productive by Peter Bacevice at Time (from way back in 2012) don't have a mission statement anywhere near as clear cut. The Society 3.0 article states that slow work is "about moving through life more consciously, taking the time for the little pleasures of everyday life and dealing with mind and body spirituality."
Maybe it's just me, but I don't find that very specific or attainable. I'm not even sure what I'm trying to attain with those kinds of statements.
Suggestions From Slow Work Articles
The Time article states that slow work philosophy "urges us to punctuate our routines in ways that might initially appear to compromise productivity but actually enhance long-term creativity." That sounds like what I've called the unit system. The Society 3.0 article includes suggestions that seem to support that.
- "Take breaks and use these short breaks for a little small talk among colleagues or networking via Xing, LinkedIn & Co."
- "Actively add relaxation periods to your everyday life, for example, a little yoga in the morning."
- "Create a short daily schedule in the morning and calculate twice as much time for each point on this to-do list than you would estimate."
The 3.0 article adds:
- Make more time for yourself within your daily work routine.
- Vary your routine.
- Look for a way to “break out” of the office.
- Consider “coworking” with others for a day.
Is Slow Work Only For The Privileged?
If what I've read so far is an accurate description of slow work, it sounds to me as if it is only for those who are in work positions in which they can take breaks and talk with colleagues, they can schedule extra time for the items on the short daily schedule they have the option of creating each money. It sounds as if it's only for those people who are allowed to vary their daily routine, look for ways to get out of the office, and consider coworking.
The 3.0 article concludes with '"Slow Work" can also mean simply working less. The opportunities are varying and always dependent on the individual job as well as the company. The possibilities are part-time employment, home office or sabbatical."
Well, for many people, even people who work for themselves, part-time employment and sabbaticals are not possibilities.
I'm Sorry, But I Need Something A Lot More Specific
In addition to describing slow work as being "about moving through life more consciously, taking the time for the little pleasures of everyday life and dealing with mind and body spiritually," the 3.0 article says, "Health and happiness are the focus of the 'Slow Movements.'" Slow work "takes the stress out of the workplace and thus leads to long-term mental and physical well being."
You know what would really lead to long-term mental and physical well being for me? Being able to get the work done that I want to do. Finding specific ways to get enough control both my work nonwork lives so I can do more of the work I want to do. That would do wonders for my health and happiness, too.
Just because I haven't yet found anything about slow work that will help me with my work doesn't mean there isn't something there. I'm going to stay on it. As part of my slow work thinking, I'm going to consider deep work and minimalism.
Tweeting Saving the Planet & Stuff continues. You can follow it on Twitter with the #STPStwittered hashtag or you're welcome to just follow me altogether at @gail_gauthier. And the Kindle edition of STP&S is on sale at a reduced price this month.