Do you ever feel like you’re rushing through life? Trying to complete your never ending to-do list, taking in an overload of information in a short amount of time but barely skimming the surface. I know I do!
Often, I put too much pressure on myself. I set myself goals with a limited amount of time to complete them, let alone enjoy the journey. I feel like a failure if I can’t complete everything on my to-do list, even though my to-do list is ongoing. Sometimes I can’t fully enjoy the book, article or blog post which I’m reading because I’m constantly pressing fast forward and thinking about the next thing on my list. It’s sad really but I’m pretty certain this is the case for most of us. We don’t often take time to slow down because we think if we slow down, we will be left behind. Yet if we actually made an effort to slow down life would be a lot simpler. We would make fewer mistakes, be more productive, have a clearer mind and feel less overwhelmed.
Slowing down can be difficult when we live in a busy society, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how to do it.
1. Set a reminder
It can be easy to forget to slow down in this busy fast-paced world, that’s why it’s important to set yourself a reminder every now and again. I recently came across a project called The Thinking Egg, which is a small pine, brass or howlite egg, designed to help remind us to slow down and be more mindful. I love the idea of The Thinking Egg as it’s such a simple tool which anyone can use to stay present and more aware in our day-to-day.
2. Have more breaks
Schedule more breaks between your tasks and activities so you can enjoy your day at a more relaxed pace. During work, make an effort to walk away from your desk more often. Use these little breaks to make a drink or speak to a colleague. Having more breaks throughout your day will allow you to step back from your work and slow down.
3. Switch off
It’s ironic that technology is designed to make our life’s easier, yet we use our devices to do more things than ever before. Resulting in a busier more hectic lifestyle. By switching off every now and again, you are giving yourself the opportunity to slow day and clear your mind. Being connected to your phone all day means that you are likely to be interrupted, you are available to other peoples demands, even if you are already swamped. It’s extremely difficult to slow down when you’re always online, so try to disconnected every so often.
4. Listen more
Many of us (and I’m majorly guilty of this too) are distracted by our phones when we are spending time with others. When we are having a conversation with friends or family we check our phones and if it’s not our phones which are distracting us, its our mind. We are there in person, but our mind wanders else where. It pops over to out to-do list and then brings its attention back to the present. Then it wanders off again, into the future, thinking about what we are going to do or say next. Of course, it can be hard to train our mind to stay fully focused all of the time, but a good place to start is keeping your attention on the person you are with by putting your phone away.
5. Stop multitasking
As I write this post I currently have five tabs open on my laptop and I’m resisting the urge to check my phone (guilty!). However, I’m sure this is the case for most people when you are working on a task or project and while multitasking might seem productive… it’s not. By focusing on one task at a time you are going to work much more efficiently. Your mind will be clearer and you will start to slow down, the task at hand will become more simple because it’s the only thing you are focused on.
6. Eat slower
Sometimes we eat our food as quickly as possible, for no real reason and end up feeling stuffed and sluggish because we’ve overeaten (or maybe that’s just me?). Instead of finishing your meal before you’ve had time to enjoy it, try to appreciate your food and be mindful of each bite. The meal will taste nicer and you will get full up quicker.
7. Plan your time
I’m a huge fan of planning, especially if it means I get to use one of my many journals! But there are some surprising benefits to planning, one being it helps you slow down. You see, when you plan your time correctly, you will spend your time doing exactly what you have planned to do, in the time you have planned to do it. Nothing more. When we don’t plan our time we end up trying to do everything at once. Let’s say you sit down to right a blog post and then a the corner of your eye you see the washing basket over flowing so you put a load of washing on. Then before you sit back down to your blog post, you decide to empty the dishwasher, and just like that, you’re busy rushing around the house, trying to be productive but not completing the task you actually wanted.
8. Wake up earlier
What does your usual morning routine look like? Is it relaxing, do you make breakfast, do you have time for yourself? The morning is the perfect time to slow down, your body has only just woken up and when you suddenly rush around trying to get ready for the day ahead, your setting yourself up for a chaotic and stressful day. By waking up earlier you will feel more relaxed, peaceful and will naturally slow down. Waking up earlier is a difficult habit to start but once you get into a routine you will be glad you started!
9. Speak slower
Sometimes we speak way too fast, maybe it’s because we’re nervous, maybe its’ because we want to get the information out before we forget it, or maybe it’s because we have gotten used to doing everything else so quickly, that we now speak super fast as well! This is something which I need to work on, I believe it will make a huge difference to how I communicate with others. Speaking slowly allows you to speak with purpose, it means others are more likely to understand you and it means you have more time to think about your answer, before blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.
10. Introduce one new habit at a time
By slowing down we are able to enjoy our mornings, be more productive at work and relax during the evening. It means we can enjoy the present moment and appreciate what life has given us. However, if you try to implement several of these tips at the same time, you are more than likely going to struggle. I would suggest choosing just one to start of with and then once this new habit becomes routine, introduce a second point and so on. The goal is to slow down to become more present and enjoy life, so don’t bring any additional stress into your life by tying to adopt too many new habits at once.
Breathe, relax and comment below 🙂 I would love to hear from you!