Learning How To Slow Down
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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:
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.
Big thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud!
- Do you take time to slow down?
- What other ways do YOU balance life?