Agnese Rudzate On How To Slow Down To Do More

Posted on

Invest your time to get more organized. Organized space creates peace in mind and saves our precious time. Benjamin Franklin said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” So we must make a conscious decision to change a few things to get desired results. Space that serves our needs creates an abundance of ease that results in better productivity.

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Agnese Rudzate.

Agnese is a Certified Productivity Strategist and Time-management expert with a professional background in Quality Management and Empowerment Coaching. She has turned her passion for organizing into her mission to support busy, overworked women get more productive. Through structure, systems, and processes, Agnese helps to have both — impact and time freedom.

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?

It is my pleasure to be here and empower more women to truly get in charge of their time. I call organizing my superpower. However, like a natural high achiever and perfectionist, I have struggled to keep the balance between wanting the best results and taking the time to “fill my cup”. In search of more ease and flow, I became interested in wiser time-management, productive action, and how it all can create well-deserved time freedom without sabotaging success. As I see more and more women struggle to keep up, wanting to create a greater impact but also don’t lose themselves in the process, I became interested in coaching as a tool that reveals answers to help us move forward mindfully and with confidence.

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?

We live in a time where we are often praised for having more and doing more. This is where the sense of rush is being normalized. Because it is great to be informed, it is great to be able to multitask and even greater to do it all and show no weakness. Our desire of getting noticed, be useful, belong somewhere, and show others that we can is what makes us rush and burn out rather than work on clarity and finding a better balance.

A lot of us often feel like we don’t have enough time in the day, this is where rush takes the lead. However, we are the ones in charge of our time. Time is not in charge of us. A fundamental that is often hard to grasp especially in a “notification filled” world. In this world “being informed” means filling our minds with all sorts of necessary and unnecessary information. That slows us down rather than serves as a base for leveling up.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

When we rush, we are rarely present. When we are not present, we lack clarity. When we lack clarity it’s easy to prioritize other people’s stuff and forget about our own needs and priorities. This can be very dangerous for our mental and physical health. When we rush we create an illusion that we can do it all and there are no consequences. Unfortunately, there are consequences for our every decision and action. We might not see it right away, but in the longer run by ruching, we are sabotaging our health, happiness, and productivity. When we rush from one task to another, sometimes even trying to multitask, our brain gets more tired. This means we make more errors more often. That leads to taking extra time to correct those mistakes. So even when we fool ourselves by thinking that we can multitask, we do ourselves a big disservice because we create space for mistakes.

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?

There is a false perception that doing more means working longer hours and pushing ourselves to the limits because this is how we can get to be successful. However, doing more in this sense only leads to more discomfort in one area or another in our lives. To truly do more, we need to look into our definition of success and what would it mean to us. What I have noticed and experienced is that we tend to overwork when we don’t feel worthy of success. Because we have been embedded the thought that it can’t be easy, it can’t be simple. So we are constantly looking for ways to justify our happiness, our success, our achievements to feel worthy. When we slow down, ask ourselves some tough questions and reach for clarity around success, we get to experience improvements in balance. And this is how we can truly do more, create more impact, and expand time without burning ourselves out.

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 five strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

It’s always important that we use the strategy that suits us best and adapt it for even greater improvements. There are several ways that anyone can start to get more productive without feeling like they are given another mission to fulfill. Productivity is all about mindful and focused work that creates the best possible results in a given situation.

  1. Invest your time to get more organized. Organized space creates peace in mind and saves our precious time. Benjamin Franklin said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” So we must make a conscious decision to change a few things to get desired results. Space that serves our needs creates an abundance of ease that results in better productivity.
  2. Make a conscious effort to create focus. We are in charge of it and it is in our full power to maintain our focus. Noticing what makes us seek distractions is a great way to understand the pain points that makes us uncomfortable while doing or approaching certain tasks. Get to know yourself better and create an environment that keeps you focused to do more productive work.
  3. Eliminate outside distractions. Turning off the notifications is a great place to start. Because believe me, even when you think that it will only take a minute to check that “maybe” important email, you instantly lose focus. In fact, according to the research, people get distracted every 11 minutes and it takes about 25 minutes to get back into focus. Imagine if we get distracted so often, we’re never really focused and attentive. So it is up to each of us to create the space for that.
  4. Work on your pain. The road to doing more while actually slowing down is directly related to our pain management. Let me explain. We seek distractions to avoid discomfort. We procrastinate on certain tasks because they cause discomfort/pain. So it’s up to us to dig deeper and try to understand what causes that discomfort, what pain lies under our avoidance and unproductive work. The better we understand ourselves, the better we will become at time management, productivity, focus, and all that is necessary for a clear, concise mind for greater impact without burnout.
  5. Change your language. Stop focusing and articulating the lack — “There’s not enough time”, “I will not finish this on time”, “I don’t have time to do all of this”. Instead practice the language of abundance, like, “I have more than enough time for what I want to accomplish”. It is up to us to change the course and by changing our language, we can easily shift our mindset into success mode and do more while slowing down.

How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?

For me, mindfulness is about being present. In this state, we are at our optimal level. When I’m present and enjoying the moment is where things flow, time stops, and opportunities arise. It is that vibration that we send out to the universe saying that we are available for more of that.

I went sledding with my son as I knew he would enjoy it so much. So instead of being a mom and watching my kid having fun I went all in and joined the party. This was when time expanded. It was my conscious effort to create more moments like that and in this particular instance, I showed that I’m available for it.

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

There are a lot of distractions out there for us to fight with. But there are also distractions in us that we need to try and manage wisely to be able to stay mindful.

For me, there is one practice that helps me get rid of old, unnecessary stuff and invite, welcome new opportunities — regular decluttering. I apply it to physical space as well as the mind. I now give myself permission to say no to things that are not of true value, get rid of things that don’t serve me anymore, prioritize my needs and self-care rather than exhaust myself to prove that I can. I take the time to make the time.

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

First, to slow down we need to breathe. I’m talking about deep breathing that calms down our minds. We all would be much calmer and productive if we would remember to take deep breaths consistently. It helps not only our mood and health, but it also sharpens our mind and boots productivity.

The second tool that I use to slow down and actually do more is asking questions. When evener I feel stuck or don’t feel like I’m filling my time with the most important tasks, I ask — “Am I being productive or just active?”. This is one of many productivity questions that one can ask to put things into perspective and become more mindful about the work we do.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices?

The list of books and podcasts is endless, however recently I have discovered a new practice that I would like to share in hopes that it would help others stay mindful and grounded. It is Neurography that has opened my mind even more and continues to keep me mindful.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Take time to make time” — such a profound mantra that keeps reminding me of the importance to slow down and be mindful about how I spend my time. It deepens the sense of us being in charge of the time and our choices on how to fill it. We simply must invest our time to create the time freedom we deserve while doing more good and creating more impact.

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. 🙂

Going from Silly Busy to Strategic&Smart is my wish for all businesswomen, mothers, and professionals.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Agnese Rudzate On How To Slow Down To Do More was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.