Slow down to speed up

I was recently working with the CEO of a large organization. She is an extremely capable leader, but was feeling so stressed out: “Cyril, I’m drowning in to-dos. Everyone wants a piece of me, and I just can’t keep up.”

Bonjour, in this video, I want to talk to you about the importance of slowing down so you can ultimately speed up.

Let me tell you, her situation isn’t unique. I’ve seen it time and time again with leaders. It’s like they’re caught in a whirlwind—emails flooding in, calendars jam-packed with back-to-back meetings, and a never-ending to-do list of priorities and projects.

And here’s what often happens:

First, their performance starts to suffer as they struggle to juggle it all, inevitably dropping some balls along the way.

Second, their health and well-being take a hit. Stress becomes their constant companion, which is never a good thing.

So, when I work with leaders, one of the first things I encourage them to do is to slow down. But how exactly do I do that?

Here are three simple steps I suggest they take every quarter:

Slow Down: Take a breather. Find yourself a quiet spot away from the chaos. For me, it’s my little balcony (well, not today, it’s raining cats and dogs out there!), where I can sit back, relax, and gather my thoughts. This helps me clear my mind and regain perspective.

Look Up: Shift your focus from the day-to-day grind to the bigger picture. Ask yourself, “What actions can I take now that will have a significant impact in one, two, or three years?” Identifying these long-term priorities helps you stay grounded in your vision.

Capture: Take out a pen and paper and jot down your top priorities. Give each one a name, outline the desired outcomes, list key actions (usually on a weekly basis), and determine how much time you need to dedicate to each. This simple act of capturing your priorities helps clarify your focus and provides a roadmap for your actions.

This simple process not only helps me clarify what truly matters but also brings a sense of calm and focus to my days. It’s like having a roadmap—knowing exactly what to say yes to and, more importantly, what to say no to.

So, here’s the bottom line: Take the time to slow down, look up, and capture your priorities every quarter.

So, my questions for you is this: Do you carve out time to slow down regularly so you can ultimately move faster and with more purpose?

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip.

Wishing you a lovely day ahead!

A bientôt,


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