Slowing Down: Actions


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

  1. Ignoring email

  2. Make a list and then throw it away

  3. Doodle

  4. Completing actions

  5. Schedule empty space

  6. Intentionally doing nothing

  7. Reducing my WIP

  8. Turn off email for 1-2 hours per day

  9. Using Pomodoro more regularly

  10. Get a dog

  11. Draw a picture

  12. Gratitude

  13. Listening to music each day

  14. Exercise – setup yoga with group or something else with coworkers

  15. Start reading more about Agile

  16. Observe my thoughts without judgement

  17. Start acting like a toddler

  18. Reading for fun

  19. Walking slow

  20. Notice my breath and how it feels

  21. Eating lunch NOT at your desk

  22. Watching grass grow

  23. Amble

  24. Phone stacking at lunches and dinners and meetings

  25. Being present

  26. Watch waves roll in

  27. Saying single sentences only

  28. Finishing things

  29. Reward slow actions



Things to stop

  1. Stop carrying laptop

  2. Stop reading more than 2 paragraphs

  3. Stop burying the lead in emails

  4. Multi-tasking

  5. Don’t go to Agile 2013

  6. Stop reading everything related to the next meeting’s topic. Be prepared to be unprepared.

  7. Stop working through the 12:00 hour and go for a walk

  8. Stop waiting for permission to initiate change

  9. TV

  10. Stop reading everything all the time

  11. Stop solving problems without asking 3 questions first

  12. Stop trying to fill the void of silence first

  13. Stop avoiding nagging release issues

  14. Stop checking email on my phone every time I have a spare moment

  15. Stop checking email before I go to sleep

  16. Remember there is always tomorrow…

  17. Stop checking IM’s the instant that they arrive

  18. When I’m at a conference, stop going to every session. Take time out each day to just go outside

  19. Stop having talks longer than 25 minutes

  20. Stop bringing anything on a trip that I didn’t use last time

  21. Ditch watch

  22. Drive less

  23. Turn off email

  24. Work less by taking a 3 week vacation

  25. Imitrex

Recommended books

  1. Personal Kanban

  2. The Tao of Pooh

  3. The Shibumi Strategy

  4. The Tao Te Ching

  5. 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.

#Agile #slowingdown #sustainablepace #boundaries #habit #settinglimits #overwork #multitasking #stopping #starting

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