5 Ways to Slow Down

Saturday Jan 30 2010

I find myself very busy, constantly. There is always something that needs to be done, right now. Even though I may find a 15 minute space of time just for me, I feel like I'm not doing enough and like a rabbit, sprint off to my next assignment. My plate right now looks something like this:

  • scouring the internet for writing jobs
  • e-mailing editors, leaving phone calls
  • registering for Spring classes, ordering textbooks
  • writing e-books, books, and books
  • outlines e-books, books, and books
  • cleaning while Dora echos through the house
  • making breakfast, lunch, snack
  • hiding chocolate
  • scrambling around the house on all fours, while the 30 lbs on my back screams "Giddy Up Mommy!"
  • updating blogs
  • finding missing Snow White, or Ariel, or whoever decided to be lost that day
  • fit in some hours to work my @home job
Look familiar? Right now I have only one child, your list is probably this x3.

This is my overflowing plate. So you see those 15 minutes of relaxation just don't fit into my schedule. But after reading a blog post by Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits, about How Not To Hurry, I decided to list the 5 ways to slow down that would apply to me, maybe you:

1. Prioritize

I think if you would put Prioritize in your find box and searched my blog, you'd find it a lot. It's something I always talk about, but something I rarely do. A slap on the wrist for me. List what needs to be done today, not what you'd like to get done, but just the things that need to be done. Don't overflow your plate with things that will just eat your time.

2. Keep it Short

If your to-do list is hanging out of your car window as you are racing to the grocery store, it may be a little too long. (I've seen this). Limit yourself to 2 to 3 things a day. One thing I really like from the Zen Habits, is that when you spend your time focusing on just a couple of things, the quality gets so much better because your time is spent focusing rather than jumping from topic to topic.

3. Reserve your peak hours, for you

If you write better at the crack of dawn, get up at 6AM and write. Don't spend the rest of the day trying to fill in blank blog posts, when you know your best material is written before the kids get up. If your ideas are fresh right after dinner, make sure everyone knows, that 1 hour space, you are to be left alone.

4. Cut back on commitments

Do you really have to be the 3rd parent volunteer for Stacy's soccer team, and have to go to every meeting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Or can you just be the loud, hollering mom at the Saturday games. At Zen Habits, Leo had a good point when he wrote that we are over committed and that is why we are so rushed. When we try to add so many things in our lives, social groups, 100 sports, volunteer, classes, groups, hobbies, we are actually de- valuing our lives. Pick 4 or 5 essential commitments that won't over burn you.

5. Be Ok with not doing anything

To me, this one is the most ridiculous, insane thing, anyone could ever do. How can you not be ok with not doing anything. Then I did it. I sat there on my couch, tea in hand, and listened to the birds outside, concentrated on my breathing, closed my eyes. If we aren't doing anything, we get impatient and nervous, but after spending just those 15 minutes, inside my mind, I was able to refresh and get things done with more satisfaction, not to mention appreciate my comfy couch.

Bottom line is, we are rushed, especially us parents. We try to do everything and forget about our well being in the process. There was also a quote that started off the blog post at Zen habits, it was this:

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished..." - Lao Tzu

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  1. I learnt #4 the hard way, a couple of years ago. I'm much better at saying "no", now.

    Not doing anything... I'm rubbish at that!

  2. Remember to breathe....I'm with Rachael, NO is a powerful word. I ask myself if I want or need to do something, and I have learned never to commit right away but to think it over first without the 'pressure.' Stopping over from SITS...

  3. I agree with you... Sometimes learning to say "No" to things are important. Like what they say.. if you chase two rabbits at the same time both will escape. I'd rather stick to the one that is more important and valuable. Cheers!