Slow Allure


Over the last few days I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to the power of Slow. I was led to Christine Hohlbaum’s blog by another great blogger, Lisa Rivero whose Writing Life always has something of interest.

Basically, the power of slow is all about gaining time in life by behaving more mindfully, more in tune with how life should be, more calmly and more thoughtfully. Since I have been plagued for eighteen months now (ever since I properly discovered online life and social media in general) by ever less time to achieve what I want to achieve creatively, I had to get the book and read what Hohlbaum has to say.

I’ve not suddenly become aware of how technology distorts and upsets life. Long ago I gave up tv: particularly serials and soaps. Anything, in fact, which might make me not do something else. Even with catch up tv these days, you never get time to catch up.

And even before that, working as a lawyer in the City, I watched during the 1980s and early 1990s as telex was superseded by fax and fax was superseded by email and two or three travelling working drafts for a deal became innumerable word processed drafts before completion and the working day became 24 hours.

So it’s fair to say I’ve had strategies in place for two decades to limit the sinister and pervasive adverse influences of technology on my life, but nothing prepared me for the assault of social media.

For the whole of 2011, I was on a mission to try and manage a productive daily routine including social media communication and review of the vast amount of wonderfully informative and valuable material landing on my various devices from Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and emails. Frankly, I failed.

I have found the digital creep insidiously worrying. It doesn’t help that I love blogging and I use digital media in my work. It is really hard for me to switch off and limit use. It is particularly hard because I don’t want to switch off and limit use. Life in many ways is richer and funnier and more enjoyable as a result of social media.

So of course it’s all a question of balance and determining what is reasonable time to spend flicking through, actively engaging and how often during the day I should open up the beckoning app.

Having decided that, the next challenge is to develop the new habit. Hohlbaum’s book has some great ideas on this, and I have made copious hard copy notes using a real pen. I felt it important to read the book with my full engaged attention: after all, the reason I have reached crisis point is that I am finding it ever more difficult to just sit and read books without looking at my phone every five seconds.

Enough is enough. And to tackle my professional digital dilemmas, I am running a blog project which consciously eschews digital safety nets and easy effect. Click on the #adailyselfreflection link if you would like too know more about this.

I will be reviewing progress in a few weeks. Watch this space.


5 responses to Slow Allure

  1. My daily life concerns mirror yours …. I am currently drawing/painting on son’s ipad inspired by Hockney and usually feel guilty as its more time spent with technology added to other time where technology takes over ,,,…. time. Yet feel excited/fascinated by what’s happening and what it triggers. A mono printing session held yesterday was so much free-er informed as it was by ipod work.
    Is it still real?

    • gillianholding – Author

      I think exploring on the ipad and iphone is absolutely fine and great and leads to wonderful discoveries which then do inform real-life work in a very positive way. I’m not giving up on mine altogether; but i dare not pull the devices out to do much until i have trained myself not to look at twitter, email etc etc when i want to be working! already after a few days i’m getting better… I hope!

  2. Gillian,

    Congratulations on your new journey to slow. It sounds as though you have some great systems in place to keep those time sucks at bay. Social media can be a black void, and it seems to feed into out “never enough” attitudes. Know that what you do is more than enough. When we are clear about the Big Picture, we automatically take action that reflects those commitments. Life becomes less about struggle and more about joy. And joy is something we could all use more of!

    I look forward to your progress report! And check out inCharge at the iTunes store. It’s a great iPhone app that enables you to set non-phone times. It still has full functionality, but the app brings you back to your commitment in case you forget!

    Kindest regards,
    Christine Louise Hohlbaum
    author of THE POWER OF SLOW

  3. gillianholding – Author

    Thank you so much, Christine, for taking the time to visit, read and comment. It is very much appreciated! I really enjoyed reading your book, and I think it was the first book in months where I sat down and did not look at my phone or iPad once when I was reading: solely because I felt if I couldn’t manage at least that whilst reading The Power of Slow, then there would be no hope for me! But you are quite right about the importance of the bigger picture. I’m increasingly finding a huge amount of compatability in approach with all the transformative books and websites I have read in recent years, and increasingly I can see a humanly sustainable way of living emerging. I find it a very exciting prospect. I did search for inCharge but can’t see it in the App Store. Is it one of those apps only available to Americans??!

  4. inCharge is perhaps not yet released. It was developed by someone in Israel who approached me with a prototype. I will ask him what his timelines is for release. It would be available worldwide. I’ll get back to you on that one! Should I forget, just ping me via my blog. Thanks!

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