How to kickstart your tempo when you’ve stalled. A curious exploration of tempo, part 2

If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress

—Simon Sinek

In part 1 of this month’s series, we explored the concept of a balanced tempo and how to slow down and create space when you’ve been going at full throttle for too long. But there is a flip side to issues of tempo, and that’s going so slowly that you come to a grinding halt. Being stalled for a sustained period of time can not only lead to being unproductive, but it can negatively impact your motivation, inspiration and the joy you bring to your business.

First, if you find yourself stalled simply because you don’t have much to do, then my advice? Don’t feel like you need to be chained to your desk. As a society we are programmed to think we have to be at our desks to be productive, but (almost) without fail, the best ideas happen in that space between—the a-ha moment on a walk or, more often than not, in the shower! 

However, if your slow / stalled tempo is less about not having the work to fill your day, and more about procrastination, then you need to be honest with yourself and just do the thing! 

On these days, even if you’re the best multitasker in the world, avoid multitasking. In my experience, switching gears multiple times in short succession just results in lost time and a lack of focus, which in turn contributes to an inability to complete the task at hand.

So. Turn off those notifications, block out some time for your task, and knock it out. I generally keep it simple and block out an hour or two, depending on the task, followed by a bit of an incentive like a lunch date at 100 Mile Table. Carrot, dangled, etc!

If you’re someone who likes a more prescriptive model, there are a bunch of time-blocking techniques out there, such as the Pomodoro Technique. The basic premise is to firewall your attention for a small amount of time and mentally recharge after each interval of work. Here’s how it works:

  1. Identify what the task at hand is.

  2. Set your timer to 25 minutes.

  3. Work on the task until the time is over.

  4. Take a 5-minute break.

  5. For every four intervals, take a longer break (15-20 minutes).

Whatever it is that helps you get those wheels spinning again, it’s also important to be very mindful of these tasks that you continue to procrastinate. There’s usually a deeper reason for your lack of momentum than simply being ‘lazy’. Be conscious of them, and over time, reflect on whether you can see any patterns. Are they always the same kind of task? Think about why you’re procrastinating and listen to your gut. If it’s a task that is non-essential to your business, perhaps it’s time to let it go. If it’s something you need, but simply don’t like, perhaps it’s time to outsource. 

As always, the key is to be curious. If we approach these challenges with an open mind and view them as an opportunity to learn and expand, we create the space to understand more about our business, and ourselves. A win-win!



Katie Graham