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As the UK’s productivity shrinks, you might find yourself reading more tips about how to increase the amount of tasks you complete in a day. But instead of boosting your productivity, some researchers have instead suggested slowing down.

Read on to learn the advantages of “slow productivity”, and how it could benefit you.

What is “slow productivity”?

One way researchers have found to improve our productivity on a personal level is to go against our instincts and slow down.

In his book Slow Productivity, Professor Cal Newport suggests that blocking off time to work on one task without distractions can help to produce more meaningful and higher quality work in a way that’s sustainable long term.

His strategy asks us to redefine productivity. Instead of focusing on busyness and rushing through tasks, slow productivity concentrates on the quality of your work by listening to your physical and emotional needs, rather than the quantity.

What are the benefits?

In his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang asks you to consider three questions when implementing slow productivity:

  • In what work environment do you do your best work?
  • What practices support sustainable productivity – for example, do you prefer a sprint or a marathon?
  • What kind of work are you doing, and does it demand speed or thought?

Designing the ideal environment and working practices for your job can help you avoid the stress of hustle culture and regain a healthy work-life balance.

Taking it slow can reduce the risk of suffering from burnout, ensuring that you remain satisfied with your career, and delivering work that you are proud of can help you stay passionate about your job for longer.

How can you implement slow productivity in your life?

Introducing slow productivity into your life may look different for everyone. However, these tips could help you get started.

Avoid distractions

According to new research from Georgetown University, people can only focus on one screen for 47 seconds on average, and the brain takes 25 minutes to refocus on a task after a distraction.

Even something as simple as answering messages or checking your emails can throw you off, so it’s important to stay focused while completing a task.

Turning off notifications, using software to block distracting websites such as social media, and telling your coworkers that you will be unavailable for a period of time are all ways to avoid distractions while you are working.

Don’t rush

Planning can help you maximise the number of tasks you can complete in your workday, but it’s important to remember that getting to the bottom of your to-do list isn’t possible every day.

Although no one can avoid the occasional time-sensitive project, be careful not to pressure yourself by adhering to unreasonable deadlines. Rushing to complete something so you can get the task out of the way can cause stress and lower the quality of your work.


Having a healthy work-life balance is vital to avoid burnout. Set strict working hours and ensure you respect your personal time because taking time away from your job and allowing yourself to rest will improve the quality of your work in the long run.

Stepping away from any task – whether it be work, learning a new skill, or another project – is a brilliant way to come back to it with more passion and motivation at a later date.

Trial and error

It’s important to remember that everyone’s brain functions differently, so you must find a productivity method that works for you. For example, while some people might thrive on routine, others may require regular changes in their day-to-day tasks to keep them interested.

Finding what works for you is vital. If you aren’t sure what that looks like yet, don’t be afraid to try out different productivity methods until you discover the perfect one for you.