Editor’s note: Eric Jackson, a technology consultant and developer, is a regular contributor to Local Tech Wire. His column appears on Tuesdays.

BLACK MOUNTAIN,The world is accelerating and everything must accelerate to keep up. At least, so they say.

Whether we chase cheese, produce on Iternet time, or watch information explode, the acceleration of almost everything has become a cliché. Life is going faster and faster with more and more to be handled in less and less time and so we must learn to run ever faster in order to keep up.

I wonder.

I don’t want to quibble — certainly it is true that very many things happen more quickly and more efficiently today than any other time in history. And certainly we have access to more information with less effort than any other time. This is all true and all of it has changed the world in dramatic ways. Perhaps even we have accelerated, doing everything faster than before. I’m not sure it’s so, but I’ll concede it for argument’s sake.

I don’t know, however, that it is either necessary or even all that good an idea.

Now I don’t mean we should go backward, or abandon technology. Rather, I think we can probably accomplish more than we do, faster by paying attention to what doesn’t change and by slowing down.

First, consider what doesn’t change. Human character, for example, or basic principles: that diversity supports agility and uniformity enhances consistency, that solutions should be only as complex as they must be, that what gets attention thrives, and that people respond to inspiration, and know the difference between words and deeds. Core values and basic identity of both individuals and organizations change slowly. These are critical, foundational things. They provide the compass that guides our decisions about change, if we choose to pay attention to them.

The fact is that while information changes rapidly, wisdom changes little, if at all.

Next, some things cannot be hurried — the law of the farm applies. Trust takes time, as does understanding people — understanding requires listening, and listening takes time. More generally, relationships require time and so, if relationships (with partners, employees, shareholders) are important in business, then they provide a limit to how much we can accelerate. And, as businesses have re-discovered time and again, change takes time. Why? Because commitment and understanding take time. Good ideas and good development take time. Understanding one’s own identity and mission needs time.

Often we are not talking so much of long durations as of frequent, though perhaps very short segments of time set aside for important purposes. I have been astounded at how fruitful an hour can be after weeks of rushing without time to pay attention and think, to step out of the stream in order to gain perspective. Stepping up and out of the stream in order to take a look at what is coming and where you are situated can make the difference between smoothly negotiating the rapids and a fatal wreck.

Perhaps the most important thing about time is the power it gives us, when we are aware enough to use it. Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Permit me to restate it thus: Give me time enough, and timeless principles on which to work, and I shall change the world.

The point at which we have the greatest leverage to affect what happens five years hence is today, not four years from now. The fact is that our ability to manage change depends on our ability to focus on what doesn’t change, and to take the long perspective. So many of the crises we face are crises only because we choose not to take the time to understand and prepare for their coming.

Strategy is all about time, about stepping out of the stream to take the long view. Too often, we see this as a stage in a project. We will take some time, formulate our strategy, and then execute, execute, execute. This is wrong. Strategy is not a stage because things do change fast and it is vital to take advantage of the flexibility and power of time that is there early, but trickles away ever faster as time goes on. Strategy is a continual process that requires stepping out of the stream monthly, weekly, daily, to regain perspective and to reconnect to the principles and purposes that set us to a task in the first place.

Indeed, the faster everything changes, the more important it is to take this time to think about what guides you. Consider spending more time on those things that last longer and less on the shorter-term ones. Devote significant time to thinking about principles and values and about your organization’s (or your own) identity. Long-term goals deserve a good amount of time as well, regularly. But tactics, which tend to occupy most of our thinking, should be visited only briefly, albeit frequently.

The outcome, I would suggest, is that spending significant, regular time out of the stream will actually lead to accomplishing more, sooner and to better negotiating the difficult and unexpected changes that inevitably come.

Use the lever — give your future time.

Ideas? Suggestions? Contact Eric at eric@deepweave.com

Eric Jackson is the founder of DeepWeave. He has built his career pioneering software solutions to particularly large and difficult problems. In 2000, Eric co-founded Ibrix, Inc. He is the inventor of the Ibrix distributed file system, a parallel file storage system able to scale in size and performance to millions of terabytes.