Slow at Work by Aoife McElwain

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Jan 11th, 2018
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Slow at Work by Aoife McElwain

When I tell people about my book Slow at Work they often say “Woah, I need that book in my life.” I always reply “Me, too. That’s why I wrote it.” After feeling stuck on a treadmill of busyness and burnout for most of my working life, I had an epiphany in the autumn of 2015. I had to figure out how to cultivate a slow, more sustainable approach to work. My way of doing that was to launch a series of talks to discuss whether it was possible to slow down at work and still keep up.

Soon after, I began to collate leading research on the difference between busyness and efficiency with the experiences of others and with my experiences of finding balance between work and life. The end result was my first book Slow at Work. Throughout the book, I look into areas of work that often put me into a spin; if I could understand these processes better, would I be able to better manage my stress at work? Topics include procrastination, the imposter syndrome, listening to your gut, working with other people and coping with burnout. Questions I asked were how do our relationships with money and technology make things feel like our lives are relentless in their need for speed? Is it possible to learn how to manage our energy, to curate our environment to increase productivity and to ensure we get enough recovery time?

Two years since my moment of clarity and, though I may be “busier” than ever, my internal life at work is a very different landscape. I’ve learned that we can’t drive in fourth gear all the time; nor do we need to. Driving at the wrong speed leads to a busted up gear box and a good approach to work is knowing what speed is most appropriate.

I hope you’ll be able to take away some of the lessons I learned through writing this book about the delicate balance of knowing when to go fast and when to go slow.

SLOW AT WORK BY AOIFE MCELWAIN

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