Learning How To Slow Down

It's important to take the time to slow down throughout the week. It can be easy to stay busy and fill our schedules, but it's a pattern that is not sustainable and needs to be broken if we really aim to the be the best versions of ourselves.

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Sometimes I have a great idea for a post, but I want to save it for a later date so I jot down a quick note and then come back to it later when I know I want to publish it.

Before, I used to just write a couple words to describe it because it was the BEST IDEA EVER and of course I’ll have no problem remembering it when the time comes. That day will arrive and I’ll stare at two words and try for the life of me to remember why it was such a magical concept. Does this happen to anyone else?

I’m reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic which references inspiration as a force unto itself — one that may be forever lost if not harnessed in a timely fashion. I can speak to the accuracy of this statement as many of my ideas still sit in my master document from months and months ago without the fervor to turn them into meaningful or helpful posts.

Compared to last year, life has picked up speed a great deal in 2016. I’m constantly running around and trying to stay on top of deadlines and client sessions. It’s been a great improvement and undeniably rewarding, but after getting sick last week I realized just how busy I continue to make myself.

I had a GREAT idea for today’s post sometime over the weekend, but since I wasn’t ready to write it yet, I simply noted it down:

slow down

Apparently it was very important that I get it written THIS WEEK, but now that a couple days have passed, I can’t even remember what my huge conclusion was going to be.

So this is a different post, but one that was in fact inspired by my scribbled note to myself. (I think it’s different? Maybe this was what I wanted to write all along).

While being productive and being employed are wonderful, there can always be too much of a good thing.

I find that if I’m too busy and try to fill every minute of my day, I miss out on life altogether. The times when I walk to work with my face in my phone trying to catch up on emails and social media posts are times when I am also missing how beautiful this city is. I lose out on the ability to appreciate life in general and my role in particular.

Although I’m far from doing the following things perfectly, I try and do them to the best of my ability.

If I mess up, there’s always tomorrow.

1. Do one thing at a time

I have a terrible habit of trying to do 2154576464 at one time, especially when I’m working on this blog or on the computer in general. I have 10-15 tabs open at all times and as soon as I hit a lull in writing, I’ll click through them and see if there are any new blog posts to read on Bloglovin or remember that I need to respond to an email and interrupt whatever I’m doing to get that out of the way. As soon as I notice a new email, I always stop and click over to check it out.

I’m much more efficient if I do one task to completion before starting on another one. Doing a bunch at a time makes me feel wild and flustered. One thing I’ve started this week is keeping a notepad next to me at the computer so if I think of something I need to get done I can write it down and then continue with what I’m doing. This way I don’t freak out that I’ll forget it and scramble back and forth between whatever I’m doing.

Related: How I Blog: My Posting Process

2. Turn phone on airplane or do not disturb mode

I have my phone set to switch to do not disturb mode from 10 pm to 4 am. This means I won’t see any text messages or notifications on my phone during those times (unless I check for them). It’s not quite as hardcore as airplane mode which won’t even let me receive previously mentioned alerts, but baby steps guys. WHAT IF SOMEONE FAMOUS TRIES TO GET A HOLD OF ME??

3. Schedule time for nothing at all

Lately I’ve been scheduling enough cushion around my responsibilities that I’m not rushed to get from place to place and I’m able to stop for awhile and regain my composure before moving on to the next task. Even if it’s only 15 or 30 minutes, I like not feeling overwhelmed throughout my entire day.

4. Set boundaries

Boundaries are a necessity, which is something I didn’t learn until I was an adult. Learning to set personal and professional boundaries will be a huge lifesaver to you in likely all areas of health: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Make sure not to overcommit yourself to friends and family, as this will take away time from your own self-care and leave you feeling worn out and resentful. The same goes for your professional life. Prior to living in Chicago, I went along with everything that was asked of me at work, which included long hours and phone calls at home after I had already left for the day. I can’t tell you how many times I cried or felt overwhelmed in those positions. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

Figure out how many hours you want to work and stick to that, especially if you work in a field such as personal training that allows you to set your own schedule. It can be tempting to take on as many clients as you can, but it won’t be long until you start to burn out from too much work and too little care.

Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Yourself

Big thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud!

Questions:

  • Do you take time to slow down?
  • What other ways do YOU balance life?
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32 Comments

  1. April 28, 2016 / 5:31 am

    I try to incorporate a bit of “slow down” time into my every day. The way my schedule is (with clients), I get the opportunity, and it helps so much. Sometimes it is literally sitting and doing nothing, sometimes it is doing my cardio (where I read and have time to myself). Either way, it makes a huge difference.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Dance Like Nobody’s WatchingMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 6:59 pm

      Agreed. I’m so glad everything is working out so well!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:00 pm

      At least you can notice it and know something needs to change. That’s something I couldn’t even do for a long time!

  2. April 28, 2016 / 7:49 am

    I’m terrible about just doing one thing at a time…I am constantly trying to multitask…and probably not very well! :/
    Blair recently posted…Clean Kids Meal PlanMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:00 pm

      Haha me too. I’m like I CAN DO ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:01 pm

      I totally understand. Sometimes I have to leave it in the other room!

  3. April 28, 2016 / 8:31 am

    Oh gosh I am a horrid multitasker. I feel like I’m always juggling things and it typically does not end up well for me. You’d think I would learn! I love the idea of putting the phone into airplane mode. Though I don’t actually get bothered a lot during the day, I do find myself reaching for it just to check and I think if I knew I wouldn’t be bothered then maybe I would just be able to ignore it!
    Kat recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #83 – The Good & The BadMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:02 pm

      Yeah it’s difficult to try and break those habits! Sometimes having it out of my line of sight helps me forget it’s there which is good

  4. April 28, 2016 / 12:03 pm

    I will constantly have a OMG GREAT IDEA for a post, toss something in CoSchedule and then come back to it like ???
    When time permits, I try to write it out then. Even if all I can do is frantically type on my phone, I’ll get something down and it really does help.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…5 Ways to Get Out of a FunkMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:03 pm

      Yeah now I’ve started jotting down the main points I want to cover too. I’ve accepted that I can’t trust my brain to remember haha

  5. April 28, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    #1 is something I struggle with big time. I currently haveeeee…. 12 tabs open in my browser, and I keep switching between them if I hit a wall and can’t think of something to write. IT makes me feel like I’m saving time and being more productive, but in reality I know it’s just making me lose my focus. AND making me feel ADD at the same time 😆
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…gratitude, giving up coffee, and giveaway winner (ToL#180)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:04 pm

      I know! As soon as I slow down or pause I’m like OOH LETS DO THIS THING. Then I get even more behind on what I was doing in the first place!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:04 pm

      Totally. Sometimes it helps when I do things on the train or while walking but then I feel like I’m constantly moving and not actually living!

  6. April 28, 2016 / 2:13 pm

    haha omg you’re too funny Erin. I was the same way – I would write the title of the post and save it, before coming back to it two months later. And then? Crickets.
    Now i will write a bunch of lines about the idea and so i have a good starting point.
    I also need to put my phone on Don’t Disturb mode more often. I used to do it during University, but for some reason thought it wasn’t necessary any more after graduation!
    Beverley @ Born to Sweat recently posted…“Just Off the Plane” Outdoor WorkoutMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 28, 2016 / 7:05 pm

      Yeah I’ve had to start writing out more than two words so I can remember what I wanted to emphasize!

  7. April 28, 2016 / 9:25 pm

    Oh man your first point is me to the ‘T.’ Only its not only when I hit a “wall” that I go to the next tab – it can seriously just be a 2 second wait for something to load or a 1.5 second writers block. Like Amanda said – it makes me feel like I’m getting more done, but I’d probably be way more efficient doing one thing at a time. As soon as I have a thought I write it down either in my phone or a notebook – for then I can trust that I won’t forget it so it can just leave my mind.
    Cora recently posted…Ready or Not: My Summer Plans. Part 1.My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 29, 2016 / 6:47 am

      Totally. I’ve also started writing down more than just a couple words so I can actually remember what I was thinking!

  8. April 28, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    I’m so bad at slowing down and this post hits home. I have 16 tabs open right now and am constantly bouncing from task to task whenever I get stuck. I give myself food breaks, but otherwise I’m pretty go-go-go. I might have to try that “do not disturb” thing… and also just focus on slowing down a little more in general. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #50My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 29, 2016 / 6:47 am

      Anytime! It can be so easy to just get sucked into constantly going all the time.

  9. April 28, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    I love that you schedule time for nothing at all – I should do that too since there are definitely times when I am doing nothing except thinking.
    Great post, Erin.
    Visiting from Amanda’s linkup
    Runwright recently posted…Thursday’s Tumbled ThoughtsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 29, 2016 / 6:48 am

      Thanks for visiting! I usually schedule that time for when I’m moving from one thing to the next. That way I can relax and change my mindset to whatever I have to do next!

  10. April 29, 2016 / 2:52 pm

    I’m constantly on the search for that perfect work-life-family-exercise balance and have decided it might not exist! I am working on saying “no” to things that will sway the balance too far in one direction.

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 1, 2016 / 8:48 am

      That’s always tough but once you get comfortable with it it makes such a huge difference!

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 1, 2016 / 8:49 am

      That’s so great. I’ve tried so many times to get into yoga and I respect people who get so much out of it!

  11. April 30, 2016 / 6:54 am

    i think i need to read big magic. Yes? and airplane mode is my go to!!!

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 1, 2016 / 8:49 am

      Yes. It’s a great book and a quick read!

  12. April 30, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    Awesome tips! I love to take 20 minutes to paint my nails. I find it really relaxing and I love having pretty, non-chipped nails 🙂

    Blessings,
    Edye // Gracefulcoffee
    Edye recently posted…My Braces ExperienceMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 1, 2016 / 8:49 am

      Love this! I always paint my own nails so I know just what you mean 🙂

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