Wall Street Journal – What’s the Rush? The Power of a Slow Morning

As an antidote to our tech-obsessed society, slow-morning practitioners wake up early to meditate, read, exercise or do nothing at all.

In reaction to hectic, over-scheduled lives burdened by 24-7 technology, a counter movement is emerging: the slow morning.

Proponents spend time—sometimes hours—doing very little in the morning. Rising early, they relish beginning their day in quiet solitude, free of interruptions and deadlines. They say it provides a foundation for productivity, calm and focus that lasts the rest of the day.

Read the full article and quote from our Founder Geir Berthelsen, in the Wall Street Journal >

Read the quote from Geir >

Has technology made us too fast?

Somebody asked me recently; “Why has technology made us fast”?
It is very good question!

Before we try to understand what technology is, we have to understand what a technique is. A technique is a skill, it can be any skill, like drawing, programming, baking,
dancing designing etc. A technique does not need a technology but by adding “logy” which means collecting so if we collect a skill or technique we get Technology.

Technology is a systematic treatment of a skill or technique so it is really a physical manifestation of a skill or technique.

At first thought you would think that technology has made us slower with that I mean that technology has given us time. Time to enjoy life more.
To do the things we like and enjoy, but it has really made us more busy.

The lack of a basic understanding of what is important in life has made us fast.
It is about making a best possible life for families, cities, countries, our world and ourselves. We want technology to do the things we do not like to do, as fast as possible, so we can do the things we like to do more slowly.

The problem is that we not been able to develop a technology for making us Slow, i.e., less busy and less stressed.
There are many techniques that can be used to slow us down like mindfulness, meditation, walking, just being, but it has not yet been made in to a technology.

Before we can do that we have to redefine the way we think about time! We have to understand that time is an invention. We have to start thinking about time differently.
How can we redefine time in a way that helps us live better lives? How can we develop a technology that makes us less mechanical in our thinking

We can take some clues from how Ancient Greeks considered time – they had two time zones: the linear chronos but also kairos – the time when special events happen (the present moment).

The conclusion is that Technology based only on Chronological time has made us fast because the technology is based only on chronological time only. Chronological time is always based upon a start and an end and it is in our human nature to reach the end as fast as possible.

It is time to re-invent time!


Having taken the culinary world by storm, the “slow movement” is now being embraced by areas ranging from fashion to medicine and manufacturing, with surprising results in terms of productivity.

The pace of life has never been faster. We’re constantly connected to our offices with smartphones; we check our email first thing when we wake up and last thing before we go to bed. Our workdays are busier than ever, often stretching far into the night. We jet across entire continents to attend meetings, striving to do things faster and more efficiently, all the while bombarded by an unending flow of information.

What if, instead of rushing, we slowed down and savoured life? That’s the philosophy behind the slow movement – a radical re-appraisal of the pace at which human life is conducted. The movement is increasingly winning fans across the world. Rather than always trying to do things faster – and suffering burnout as a possible result – adherents advocate living, eating and working at a more humane pace.

The humane pace

The goal of the slow movement is to encourage people to live, eat and work at a more humane pace, rather than always trying to do things faster and suffering burnout as a possible result.

“People are realizing that we are not rats and life is not a race,” says Geir Berthelsen, founder of the World Institute of Slowness and a leading advocate of the slow movement. “We need a whole new mindset, away from the traditional perception of success and status where things like health, relationships and environment are regarded as subordinate.”

Read the full article on: http://evolution.skf.com/slowly-does-it

How we can use technology to improve our lives

Welcome to Life Well Lived: an ongoing conversation around how we can use technology to improve our lives. In part two of our series, we asked Geir Berthelsen, physicist and founder of The World Institute of Slowness, to give us technophiles some surprising tips on how to slow down.

Read the full article on medium.com

Our Top 11 ways to slow down

Here at The World Institute of Slowness we have put together our Top 11 favourite tips for a slower, more productive and happier life:


1 Don’t hurry. If you must then hurry slowly! Festina Lente

Rushing things always makes you less productive and prone to making mistakes.


2 Do nothing. Daydream

Daydreaming is your brain at it’s most productive! Allow period of time in your day for doing absolutely nothing. Let your mind slow down and wander wherever it wants.


3 Work-life balance

Countless studies show that the harder and longer you work, the less productive you become. Set yourself clear boundaries as to when work time finishes, and when your free time starts. Stick to these boundaries, stop yourself from peeking at your emails in the evening or wkds.


4 Don’t multitask.

Multitasking is a bad way to do nearly everything. Do one thing at a time and do it well. Be realistic about how long tasks take and allow yourself enough time to do each task well.

Slow down, take your time and focus 100% on one task at a time.


5 Sleep

Good quality sleep is vital in slowing down your brain and letting it reset itself. Make sure you try to get a good 8 hours each night and let yourself nap when you need to, (except for when you’re driving!).


6 Diary

Don’t cram your calendar full of meetings or events. Allow enough time before an event to prepare and enough time afterwards to reflect. Don’t rush from meeting to meeting.

There’s nothing wrong with an empty diary, enjoy the freedom it gives you. Remember you are your calendar. Your life is defined by how you spend your time.


7 Disconnect

Take control of your mobile. Turn it off, put it away, so you’re not tempted to have a sneaky peak. Take off your watch. Don’t be a slave to other people’s messages. Don’t look at work emails on holiday or wkds. That is YOUR time.


8 Don’t get distracted

Our modern world is full of distractions. You have to be disciplined to not allow yourself to be distracted by the general noise of life, your mobile phone, emails, but also by other people demanding your time.


9 Be early

Always plan to be 10 minutes early to every meeting (work or personal). You will be amazed at how much calmer you are. Enjoy the free time this gives you and use it to slow down time.


10 Slow time

Slow down your own personal time clock. Go for a slow walk, sit in a park, turn off your TV and mobile, just sit and think.


11 Give the gift of time

The best gift you can give to someone is your time. Give undistracted, quality time to your family, friends or colleagues.


If you have your own tips for slowing down we’d love to hear them.

Please get in touch >

Remember that the question is not “WHY SLOW?!”

Remember That the question is not “WHY SLOW?! It is “WHY FAST?!”

But WHY FAST? Because you want to make some things in life go fast, so that you have more time to do the things you enjoy more slowly!

To not be in a hurry all the time is our generation’s most important form of wealth!

What does SlowTime! SlowLiving! mean?

Is it possible in today’s superfast world to live slow? Would I be able to keep my job? Provide a good living for my family? Does being ‘slow’ mean low efficiency, low effectiveness?

No! If that were the case, slow would be impossible!

Slow Time! Slow Living! It’s all about balance… time for silence, time for planning, time for observing, time for reflection, time for caring, time for friendship, time for loving…

Would all this destroy the efficiency and effectiveness in one’s work, whatever it is?

No, it would strengthen it! It would make it even more important.

You don’t have to travel somewhere else to find SlowTime! Or SlowLiving! You own it, wherever you are.

Get inspired by Sam Harris’ ‘Postcards from home’, they are from his own back yard. Sam says “Spending time with my family, doing nothing more than watching the birds flit from bush to bush is conducive to the sort of photographs I make.”

Visit Sam’s website for some excellent examples of SlowPhotography for a SlowRevolution!

Read our article on CNN: “We are not rats and life is not a race ”

(CNN) — The Industrial Revolution gave us many good things, among them the ability to create large, great cities and feeding enough people to populate them.

But in its aftermath our culture has developed a core focus based on the consumer and not the person as the individual.

As a consequence we have adopted a corporate mind-set which is long on quantity, short on quality, and even shorter on slowness.

Urbanization changes the social organization and patterns of our lives. Our culture’s omnipresent corporate mind-set affects our mind with new challenges, which we as humans have not had to deal with before, leaving many of us feeling alienated from the world as it is.

Today, people all over the world are still flocking to the cities. It is not only a demographic movement but it is about people and families moving in search of a better life.

Many of us have become alienated from the world as it is and millions of people face problems of poverty, overcrowding, pollution, violence, lack of social support and loneliness.

The challenges of urban living and urban growth are not going to be about the “hard issues,” they are going to be about “soft issues” and taking back control over our time.

We’ve forgotten that there is more than one dimension to time. We have something to learn from the ancient Greeks who said time has two dimensions: chronos and kairos.

Chronos is linear time while kairos is the time when special events happen — what the Greeks called “the supreme moment.” This “supreme moment” is “SlowTime!”

To create great cities, we need to promote human interaction based on basic human values.

In his poem “The Paradox of Our Age,” the Dalai Lama says: “We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve built more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communications.”

He is right.

The consumer’s basic needs seem to be: more and faster. Consequently, our postmodern society is often compared to a rat race. But as the American actress and comedian Lily Tomlin once elegantly put it: “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

The postmodern world has brought us more education and more knowledge, but psychologists tell us that a person’s basic needs are belonging, care and love.

To fulfill these needs we have to accept that we are not rats and life is not a race. These values can only be reached if you have slowness in human relations. The Slow Revolution will facilitate a better balance between chronos and “SlowTime.”

History teaches us that unplanned urbanization causes negative consequences for people in cities. To create great cities, we need to promote human interaction based on basic human values.

To achieve this city planners, politicians, architects and real estate developers need to take a walk in the slow lane and focus on solving the challenges of poverty, overcrowding, pollution, violence and lack of social support. And the focus must be on belonging, care and love.

These values can only come through slowness in human relations. Cities built on these principles will affect their citizens in such a way that they will have better health and more opportunities to live a good life — which gives us more time to do the things that are worth doing.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Geir Berthelsen.

What happens when productivity is measured only through chronological time?

What happens if we only measure productivity using chronological time (linear time)? Do we always then become busy? Busy doing what?

Here is an ancient SlowStory explaining the challenge of “busy doing what”:

“There was a farmer that was in need for hiring a lumberjack. Finally he was able to hire a lumberjack. The first day at work the lumberjack was able to cut down 30 trees. The farmer was very happy with his performance. He continued with the same performance for some days until he suddenly dropped down to 15 trees a day. The farmer started to worry, “What is happening?” He finally decided to go and talk to the lumberjack. He asked the lumberjack, “Why do you cut fewer trees now?” He answered, “The axe has become blunt.” The farmer then asked, “Why do you not grind the axe?” The lumberjack answered, “I do not have time to grind the axe because I am too busy cutting down trees.”

In order to perform fast you have to be slow!

Ask any major sportsman, Formula 1 driver, downhill skier or speed skater. If you want to be good at what you are doing, be able to perform the tasks fast, you would need to know how it is performed in “SlowMotion”.

For businessmen it is also important to benefit from slowness in the way that if you do not take time out for reflection and slowness (reflect on how things are in SlowMotion) you will not only be less productive but you will be hazardous to your environment. There is a reason that for example pilots, train drivers etc. have a limited number of hours they can work. It is the same in business it is just that it is more difficult to see, especially if you are in the middle of the rat race.