The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

04 April 2008

Become a citizen of Slow Planet

First there was slow food – enjoying good food in good company, savouring every mouthful. Then there were slow cities, where efforts were made to slow everything down. Both these movements started in Italy, but have since spread. Then there was the Society for the Deceleration of Time, which started in Germany. Then Carl Honore wrote a best-selling book “In Praise of Slow”, where he explored everything from slow food to slow sex, Now Carl has launched a new website promoting the idea of “slow” as a way of creating a slow planet:

Slow is not about doing everything at a snail's pace; it's about working, playing and living better by doing everything at the right speed. For example:

Slow travel: Mae West once said “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly”. She probably had sex on her mind – yet the same principle holds for travel. Slow travel is not only better for the environment, it also delivers a richer, more memorable and more convivial journey. Is there more to slow travel than this? Citizens of Slow Planet are asked share their views – preferably after a long, relaxing vacation!

Slow sport: A little while ago, a famous sports columnist in Spain hailed the rise of slow football. He wrote that in the fast-paced modern game many players barely take time to think anymore. He argued that the real artists are those who can move quickly when needed but also know when to slow down, when to put their foot on the ball, size up the angles and movement around them and then deliver the killer pass or dribble. He cited Ronaldinho, the Brazilian ace, as the high practitioner of slow football.

Slow work: Even when we accept that slowing down makes sense in every other walk of life, we still resist the idea that it can also pay dividends at work. After all, speed is king in the modern workplace. Just look at these buzzwords and catchphrases: multitasking; just-in-time management; “I need this yesterday”; lunch is for wimps; get up to speed; “You snooze, you lose”. However, there is too much speed in the workplace. Employees are burning out faster than ever. Absenteeism and staff turnover are soaring. The constant pressure to accelerate, to do more and more in less and less time, is leading us to cut corners, think inside the box and make mistakes. In the global economy, the spoils will go to those who deliver quality rather than quantity. And that is why the idea of slow work will catch on around the world.

Slow design: This means using materials and resources in a way that respects the environment. It means small-scale, local production and networks of artisans sharing ideas and expertise. It means diversity, eccentricity and real character rather than cookie-cutter products that look the same all over the world. Slow Design creates objects with a story behind them.

Sign up now (but not too quickly) to become a citizen of Slow Planet:

The Beginners Guide to Slowing Down
1. Have a cup of tea, put your feet up and stare out of the window. Warning: don’t try this while driving.
2. Spend some quality time in the bathtub.
3. Write down these words and place them where you can see them, “Multi-tasking is a Moral Weakness.”
4. Try to do only one thing at a time.
5. Do not be pushed into answering a question right away. Take your time.
6. Get some stuff to show you're slow. Find out what at
7. Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things and possibly that yawning may be good for you.
8. Have some more tea. Tea is the drink of the slow.
9. Join our slow story reminder list. Sign up to be reminded when slow stories appear on
10. Take a nap and spend at least an hour extra in bed. You deserve it.

…and check out:


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