The importance of slowing down
Life is busy. The more time passing the more things there are that are added to your days. Sometimes we need to take things away. You cant do it all, no matter how much you want to.
It is so easy to find yourself rushing from one thing to the next, so many tasks to get done in one day and so many other things that needs doing when the work day is done. Then there is family, kids to pick up and dinner to cook, housework to get done. The long to do list is sometimes lessened but it is rarely completed. Even if you manage to tick everything off the list then there is something else that pops back on it.
What’s the answer then?
Try out some of my top ten ways for learning to slow down…
Less is more
The more things we have, the more time it takes to keep it all in order, tidy up, organise it, move it from one place to the next. If we actually have less things we make our to do list shorter instantly.
I made a conscious decision to de-clutter my life a while ago. Its not a task that you can get done quickly if you are committing to it, but slowly but surely I have got through my belongings and taken away all the things I haven’t used in 6 months.
I also made a conscious effort to buy less with a rule of asking myself “do I really need it” (to which the answer is usually no and if I am buying new clothing I will have to throw something old out. That works quite well as it makes me realise how wasteful clothing is.
Learn to say no
There are things that we have to say yes to because of commitments but with our free time being more selective about what you say yes to will benefit you.
Making a decision about what your priorities are, what you actually want to spend your time doing will mean that the time you do have is spent doing things that will help your wellbeing and recharge you in more ways than one.
Live in the moment
If we are constantly going over the past or worrying about the future we totally miss out on the present. Changing habits to be more present, enjoying the moment, what we are doing right now and the people we are with will make us appreciate everything we have so much more.
Prioritise your life
Journaling can really help you figure out what is important to you, what you want to focus on or aim for. When you are able to establish your priorities then it is easier to make decisions about how to spend your time or what you commit to in order to be happy. Reassessing your priorities now and then is essential too.
Appreciate the small things
I have really found that when you simplify your life and remove all the things that don’t serve you, you find pleasure in so many little things. It will be different for everyone but the simple things I really enjoy are being up early and enjoying the calmness of a weekend morning, being more organised as my head is much clearer or just being with my kids.
I used to rush around trying to get everything done as fast as possible and doing about 5 things at once thinking I was being constructive with my time. Turns out that you can only really do one thing effectively at a time and if you a doing even just two things at once they take longer and you are less effective as you are using half your brain for each task.
By focusing on one thing at a time and doing it well you will get that task completed much quicker and wont have to go back to fix mistakes. Also you get time for a break before you start the next thing on your list.
Edit the 'to do list' down
By having a list as long as your arm each day you are setting yourself up for failure and as you aren’t able to get the sense of achievement for completing your tasks.
The way to actually get through your list is to look at it, identify the most urgent items and what is achievable to get done in a day and all the other tasks are out on the list for another day. I
f the most urgent task is a big one thats going to take a lot of time, just have that on your list for the day. Only set what is achievable otherwise you are just kidding yourself.
I set a maximum of 3 things on my to do list per day. If I just get one of those done I am happy.
Look at how you actually spend your time
Until you look into how you really spend your time you have no idea. It will probably give you some surprises.
When I made a weekly timetable and wrote down what I actually do I realised how much time I was wasting watching TV which wasn’t really helping me recharge or feeding my mind with the right things.
I was able to consciously reduce that time and find time for more reading. The other thing to look at is time you spend on chores and also on time for yourself. The funny thing is I always had in my head that I had no spare time. The reality was that I did have some spare time and I was just using my time really poorly.
Schedule 'me time'
The moment I stopped thinking about fitness as a luxury and more of a necessity was when I was actually able to make it a content thing in my life rather than something I did in fits and starts.
Looking at how you spend your week will allow you to schedule at least one time each week that is doing something just for you. It can be a anything, like meeting friends for coffee, going for a walk or learning something new.
I have found a yoga class that I love and that has become my me time every week to focus on my health and give me calm in my busy week.
Stop being so hard on yourself
Putting too much pressure on yourself to get everything done and keep up a certain standard can become exhausting. It is so important to give yourself a break now, appreciate what you have achieved, even if that is just allowing yourself to rest.
We are only human and we need to remind ourselves of that.