According to the article, fast mode is when the brain quickly switches from task to task, looking to quickly accomplish tasks while looking for others in the process.
Slow mode, on the other hand, is devoted to finishing a single task at hand. There's less emotional pressure and stress in slow mode, and our mind is more easily long term focused.
The Myth of Multitasking
I'm sure we've all heard of the myth of multitasking. No human can simultaneously do two things at once; instead, we quickly switch focuses. That's what fast mode is for our brains. Fast mode keeps us thinking about what we need to do next and how to do it.
While operating in fast mode, we end up checking our email, looking at Facebook, eating, texting, doing tasks, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and whatever else is at hand. It's not a bad thing. In fact, fast mode is helpful when we need to quickly move through tasks, like dealing with a barrage of email or organizing documents.
It becomes a problem when we need to get something taking longer than five minutes done.
Focus Mode Enable
Since reading the article from 99U, I started to realize when I am in fast mode and trying to consciously switch myself to slow mode. In fact, I've realized that I've largely been in fast mode since I was in fourth grade when everything became a race for me. I went from the most beautiful handwriting, as my mom would say, to scribbles on a page racing to get done.
I intentionally have to slow myself down and let my mind be at peace toward the task I'm currently focusing. I must give myself permission to get into focus mode so I can see long term.
Multitasking encourages short term thinking while focused thinking enables thinking for the long term.
Short term thinking is a survival mindset, which states what can I do today to survive because tomorrow might not be there. Long term thinking says what can I do with what resources I have now to plan and build toward the future.
Tasks may be accomplished quickly in fast mode, but dreams are built in slow mode.
Don't get me wrong. There is a place for each of these modes in our day to day. If you need to quickly accomplish a number of short tasks, let yourself be in fast mode. If you are strategizing for your business or writing a long-form blog post, go into slow mode.
Getting Into Slow Mode
Slow mode is something I must intentionally engage.
I start by stepping back, letting my racing thoughts go, and taking a momentary mental break. I let the feeling of a rush pass me by, and let myself become emotionally and mentally invested in the work I am doing.
Since there is no longer pressure, good ideas start to flow more easily. My best work surfaces naturally. My best life starts to develop because I am no longer the task-doer, I the long-term dreamer building my masterpiece.
I think it's important to note slow mode isn't just for tasks. It's also for relationships. Going into slow mode helps me be present so I can fully take in and enjoy the moment. Nothing is more damaging to relationships than to constantly be thinking of the next task while you should be investing in the one in front of you.
So take a step back, take a break, and become invested in the moment.
Let yourself be there, and start thinking investment instead of accomplishment. Your dreams and family will thank you.