You don't have to work for Google, or any of the other firms encouraging staff to pursue personal projects on company time, to use slowness to unlock your creativity. Anyone can do it. Start by clearing space in your schedule for rest, daydreaming and serendipity. Take breaks away from your desk, especially when you get stuck on a problem.
My first book, 'In Praise of Slowness,' examines how the world got stuck in fast-forward and chronicles a global trend towards putting on the brakes. That trend is called the Slow movement. 'Slow' in this context does not mean doing everything at a snail's pace. It means doing everything at the right speed.
Our obsession with speed, with cramming more and more into every minute, means that we race through life instead of actually living it. Our health, diet and relationships suffer. We make mistakes at work. We struggle to relax, to enjoy the moment, even to get a decent night's sleep.
Your best ideas, those eureka moments that turn the world upside down, seldom come when you're juggling emails, rushing to meet the 5 P.M. deadline or straining to make your voice heard in a high-stress meeting. They come when you're walking the dog, soaking in the bath or swinging in a hammock.
Slow travel now rivals the fly-to-Barcelona-for-lunch culture. Advocates savour the journey, travelling by train or boat or bicycle, or even on foot, rather than crammed into an airplane. They take time to plug into the local culture instead of racing through a list of tourist traps.
Many kids, particularly in lower-income families, would actually benefit from more structured activities. Plenty of children, especially teenagers, thrive on a busy schedule. But just as other trappings of modern childhood, from homework to technology, are subject to the law of diminishing returns, there is a danger of overscheduling the young.
'In Praise of Slowness' chronicles the global trend towards deceleration that has come to be known as the Slow Movement. Don't worry, though: it is not a Luddite rant. I love speed. Going fast can be fun, liberating and productive. The problem is that our hunger for speed, for cramming more and more into less and less time, has gone too far.