Maybe it matters how slow you go

Let’s have a look at this quote from ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius:

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you don’t stop.” — Confucius

I’ve been thinking recently about these mechanics, about what is needed to not stop.

Of course, Confucius’ point is that you can, and have to, keep going—instead of quitting, cashing in or getting distracted.

The way he framed it, is as if slowing down is the road to stopping.

But going slowly is exactly the point. Making progress, making your dreams come true, building a legacy—it’s all about being patient, about improving 1% every day, about playing the long game. Usually, people stop because they’re trying to go too quickly. Going slow is a tactic to keep going. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

So maybe it does matter how slow you go. Maybe it matters because you have to go slow. Maybe it’s time to swap this guy around:

“It does not matter how quickly you go, so long as you don’t stop.”

Life, Studies

Why You Should Make 5 Minutes Your Fundamental Time Unit

I wrote this article in less than 2 units of 5 minutes. You can definitely read it in less than 1 minute.

You force yourself to make tasks actionable

My biggest struggle with my task management is that tasks often times feel too daunting to start on them. If I ask myself “what can I do in 5 minutes?” I’m sure that I’ve broken down the task enough.

Damn you, Parkinson

Believe me, you can do a lot more than read an article in 5 minutes. Let me present you Parkinson’s Law:

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

By forcing yourself to complete a task in 5 minutes, suddenly you can do a lot more, since you’re forced to focus to an extreme amount, cut off all distractions and do just enough instead of being your perfectionist self. You simply have no choice, it’s awesome!

You’ll learn to estimate time

Within 1 minute and 22 seconds my timer will ring. That’s what we call immediate feedback, every 5 minutes.

You can squeeze in more stuff everywhere

Who doesn’t have 5 minutes? In Scrum (software development methodology) we work in sprints. The goal is to produce one or more useful features and send them to the client in a short amount of time—usually 2 weeks.


So why not do sprints of 5 minutes, in your personal life? Here’s my challenge to you: for the next week, do your tasks in increments of 5 minutes. Every unit, think what can I do in the next 5 minutes?, set a timer and go! Doesn’t matter if you need another round, just keep sprinting like a madman and you’ll get a shitload done, while having loads of fun. And did I mention the free time to rest, meditate or read, that you can claim now?


The Automators’ Manifesto

Author’s note: I wrote this little manifesto while thinking about the impact of technology on our lives. Since then my view has refined but these points will stay valid as our lives become more and more connected. Hopefully this guides you throughout your own journey of finding the balance between connected social media frenzy and deep lonely calm.

We are humans, and humans are destined to do great things. We laugh, play, dance, create, invent, explore and love.

We are not machines. We are not made to do the same thing over and over again.

Let the machines be machines and let us be humans.

This is what we stand for.

We Embrace Technology and Make It Work for Us

Technology is beautiful. It grows exponentially and using it makes us grow just as fast.

The phones in our pockets and computers on our desk carry an immense power. We use that power to enrich our lives and do more meaningful things.

We do not let machines control us. We are in full control and make them work for us.

It’s All About Focus

It used to be that “knowledge is power,” but this isn’t true anymore: now, focus is power. The biggest corporations in this world earn their billions from distracting you and the ability to single-task is the most important skill you can have.

We eliminate ruthlessly what we don’t need or doesn’t fulfill us and pour everything we’ve got in what matters to us. We invest in ourselves, the people we love and unforgettable experiences.

Every Repetition Is an Opportunity

Every time we find ourselves doing the same thing twice, we stop and find a way to do this faster and more efficiently next time—or even make it automatic.

Everything we do over and over, every copy-paste, is a chance to eliminate time we spend being machines and an opportunity to spend more time being human.

We realize that putting in a bit more effort in the beginning can and will give us things we can reap the benefits from forever.

Creation and Contribution Drive Us

We are makers, not consumers. We create new ways to make technology work for us. But we don’t just do this for ourselves—we share our creations and insights with the world, so everyone benefits from what we do.

We Use Our Tools to Their Full Power

We master the few tools we use. We don’t fuss about finding the best tool, but instead make the best use of what we have. Chase Jarvis, award-winning photographer, said “The best camera is the one you have with you.” We apply this principle everywhere.

Further reading

Check out Cal Newport’s On Digital Minimalism for more thoughts on this topic.

Sit down and have a coffee ;)

The Power of Doing Nothing

About two weeks ago I decided to deactivate my Facebook account, and there’s one big thing I’ve learned so far: the power of doing nothing. With the internet being in our hands and pockets continuously, we’re on a constant highway of tweets, posts and notifications being thrown at us, which we attempt to take all in. Obviously, our brains aren’t capable of process this huge flow of information, so what happens is that we basically remember nothing.

You see, our memory is ‘divided’ in two parts: the short-term and the long-term memory. What we read, see or hear enters in the short-term memory. But it needs time to settle, to process, to be moulded and brought in relation with other information, in order for it to enter the long-term memory. See the long-term memory as a spider web, with all the dots of our knowledge connected by strings. If we want to add a new dot do this web, we need to create strings to and from this new piece of information, and that takes time.

Remember that feeling you had when your mind was blown the last time? You can kind of feel what you’ve just learned ringing around inside your brain. You need to give it time to settle, so it can become a part of your permanent knowledge. If you just go on in your stream of uninterrupted notifications, it gets kicked right out of your short-term memory and is replaced by something else.

So take your time. Learn something, then make a walk in the park, or just sit down and think about it for a while. Let these new ideas find a comfortable spot to settle. Give them a home inside the city of your brain.