Mindfulness is being present in the moment. It is focusing on what is right in front of you. So, it is putting down your phone at dinner. Being fully present in a conversation. Or turning off email and putting a do not disturb sign on your door when you need to brainstorm. Start by doing one thing at a time. This might sound easy, but it is much harder. You do not realize how often you are multi-tasking till you commit to doing one thing at a time.
As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Andrea Travillian.
Andrea Travillian is a self-rediscovery life coach helping women find themselves and start new chapters in their lives. Through her three-step coaching method, Andrea assists women to discover, heal, and thrive, so they can stop putting their happiness on hold and reclaim excitement for their future. Learn more at andreatravillian.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ihave always been a high achiever with an attitude that a day was not good unless I had crossed off most of my to do list items. Over the years, I became more and more burnt out. Eventually hitting a point that I knew something had to change, as my health and happiness were disappearing. So, I went on a journey to learn more about myself and why I operated the way I did.
Eventually I found myself in a space where I had uncovered enough limiting beliefs to realize that my obsession with getting stuff done was due to not feeling worthy. As I began to heal those beliefs, I began to slow down.
Then the best thing happened. I began to be even more creative and productive than ever before. I learned that if I rested and allowed myself the right care and time I needed. Everything else got easier. So now I help others slow down, understand themselves better and thus make everything more efficient!
According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
I believe it starts with unrealistic expectations. Somehow, we ended up in a space where we expect more and more from people. Empathy has left our workplace and society systems.
Plus, we expect them to be perfect when they do it. This creates a space where people do not feel like they are doing enough. So, they rush around trying to jam more into their days. Trying to achieve more all while doing it perfectly. It creates an exhausting life.
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
There are many issues that come up from being rushed. First, it physically wears us out. The culture of sleep little and do more is harming us. We need sleep. Not only does it keep us physically healthy, but it is when we process emotions and what goes on in our day. Without sleep we are impacting most areas of our life. Our brains and bodies stop working without it.
Second, our brains need time to process what is going on in our life, outside of sleep time. We can’t keep putting information in and not letting our brains understand it. Most of our thinking happens in our subconscious. Without slowing down and doing nothing, you are not letting your brain help you. If you are stuck on a problem, the best thing you can do is stop and go do something different. And hopefully that is something where your mind can slow down.
Third, when you are constantly going you make more mistakes. When you make mistakes, you must redo work. Decreasing productivity. Stanford professor John Pencavel found that your productivity begins to decrease after 50 hours. So working more is harming us!
On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?
One example is from my business. I was struggling with feeling like I was constantly doing tasks like social media versus building out processes for the business. I knew something had to change. So, I stopped, took some time to step away. This enabled me to see the issue from a very different perspective. It allowed me to come up with some systems that ended up increasing my productivity and reducing my hours. I would not have figured out the system if I had stayed in it. It took me slowing down, not looking at it to find the solution.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Prioritize — I am sure you have heard this before, but you must pick what really matters to you. You can only do so much at a time, so pick what you are working on and the rest goes away. I recommend you do not focus on more than about three large projects at a time. And that is probably pushing it!
- Meditate — hands down one of the best habits you can pick up for yourself. It helps you slow your mind down and unwind. I do this first thing in the morning, plus I will stop and meditate anytime I am stressing out and not being productive. It helps clear your mind and give yourself a re-start.
- Journaling — I pair this with my morning meditation to slow down and take the time to sort through what is going on in my life. It helps with emotions, priorities, problems and more. It keeps me focused and going.
- Exercise — this does not have to be a lot, but enough to allow your mind to rest. While many of the tools recommend to slow down, seem like they are things that would take more time. The benefits they bring to your brain, help it slow down. And that is the important part, allowing your brain time to work. So even if it is a 20-minute walk, it will help you.
- Do nothing day — yup that is right. I try and schedule a day a month where I “do nothing”. This is typically just relaxing and watching movies or getting out into nature. But the key is nothing that most would consider productive.
- Make sure to take vacations. Vacations are a lost art in America. We do not value how important they are for helping us de-stress and relax. Not to mention the benefits for expanding our minds. I know that is harder now that we are dealing with the pandemic, but you can still find ways to take mini trips if you are healthy enough. Stay local or drive to the next town over.
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
Mindfulness is being present in the moment. It is focusing on what is right in front of you. So, it is putting down your phone at dinner. Being fully present in a conversation. Or turning off email and putting a do not disturb sign on your door when you need to brainstorm.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
Start by doing one thing at a time. This might sound easy, but it is much harder. You do not realize how often you are multi-tasking till you commit to doing one thing at a time.
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
Two things that I do to help at work is turn my phone onto airplane mode and then put on noise canceling headphones. This helps block out anything that is distracting you from the task at hand.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices
I use the Insight Timer for meditation. It is and app and a website with meditations, talks, relaxing music and classes. This one place helps with keeping me focused and centered.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love quotes, so picking just one is hard. But I would say the one that has helped me slow down the most is “Don’t take things personally” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is part of his book The Four Agreements. It teaches us that everyone’s reaction to us is their issue, not ours. When we look at how much we are doing because of others, keeping this quote in mind helps to slow down.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Movements are big right now, there are many things in our world that need to change. But keep in mind that a movement or any society is only as good as the people who are in it. For anything to be a lasting change, we must focus on changing and loving ourselves. If we love ourselves, and have healed from emotional pain, limiting beliefs and fear. Then we can really begin to change the world. When our personal pain disappears then we do not need to be hateful towards others. And everything can begin to be better.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!