Want To Feel Less Stressed? Take Your Time

slow down and relax

I don’t know about you, but I often feel as though I am racing against the clock.  Between my never ending to-do-list, self imposed as well as very real deadlines, the daily marathon is stressful and I feel as though I’m forever spinning plates!

But the other day, I had an amazing epiphany after a piano lesson of all things, which I’d like to share with you.  In the course of the lesson, we were working on a passage that consisted of a series of super fast notes that ended in a large leap from a low note to a high note. Because the last two notes were so far apart from each other, I kept rushing the fast notes that came before the leap in order make the leap ontime.   But no luck.   In fact,  no matter how many times and how many ways I practiced this passage at home, I kept missing the last note.

So, I brought the pesky passage to my amazing piano teacher, played the passage and of course, missed the last note as usual.  He looked at me and simply said:

You have beat anxiety!  Stop rushing the notes that come before the leap.  In fact, because you are rushing, you are not fully playing the note that comes before the leap and therefore, you have no firm platform to leap off of, your hand, finger and arm are out of alignment and you have no prayer of successfully landing on the top note unless you slow down and complete all of the notes that come before.  In fact, you can only play one note at a time, so truly play each and every note as though it’s the only note you have to play.”


I left that lesson in a rush and while walking to the subway in NYC (which is already bustling non-stop), I ran down the day’s to-do-list in my mind and immediatley began to feel out of time, stressed and worried about how I was going to get to the next project, and the next 3 projects behind that.  And then Bob’s words came back to me “You can only play one note at a time”

I thought of my lesson and held onto the fact that after slowing down the notes in that passage just a tad, and really playing each one, I finally hit that top note in all of it’s glory.    So, I slowed down my pace.  I slowed my breathing down and actually said out loud – “I have time.”   In fact, time is really all we have and we have lots of it.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day….the trick is how are we going to use it!

So I went home and did the following:

  1. I got organized.
  2. Then I realistically timed out how long I thought my projects were going to take and then doubled the time.  THAT was calming,  and allowed me to be truly present and on my game.
  3. I then focused on ONE TASK AT A TIME.   No, writing a proposal while checking e-mails or texting anyone.  Just clearing the space to do what I had on my plate.  And you know what?  I finished the task in half the time!
  4. When I got stressed, I remembered to breathe.  I took a minute, closed my eyes and did some deep breathing.  It lowers my stress each and every time!

So tell me.  How are YOU going to slow down and find more peace in your work, your day and yourself?

Post a comment and share your story!

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.34.01 PMUntil the Next Time!




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