I recently received this question by text: “How do I slow down without slowing down?” Have you ever wanted to slow down but fear it means you will be sacrificing what’s important to you? My in the moment response: “Let go of unnecessary distractions, both the ones your brain is fabricating and the ones other people are fabricating for you.” I want to delve into this a bit further.
Constantly rushing through the day checking off items on your to-do list lowers your energy, motivation, and satisfaction. Consider these 3 steps the next time you’re non-stop powering through instead of meaningfully engaging with your activities or the people in your life.
Set your priorities and define your boundaries. Decide what matters to you and focus there. I know that this is easier said than done. It means learning to tactfully say no to distractions. It also means sitting down and mapping out what you really need to do rather than impulsively acting. I’ve been thinking lately about how much time I’ve spent on activities that I subsequently decided were, well, pretty much a waste of my time. Had I sat down and given greater thought about how to get from point a to b I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy.
It’s also helpful to build in a buffer between appointments when possible. And, know when it’s good enough. While you may want to be the best parent you can be, you don’t need to go all in on the trivial tasks in your life. Sometimes we spend a lot of time focusing on the trivial to avoid the non-trivial. Self-inquire if there are examples of that in your life.
Ask for and Accept Help
You don’t have to do everything, even if you know how. This could look like talking to your partner about how to adjust the workload in the house or teaching your kids to take on age-appropriate chores. Or, maybe you can hire someone to complete a task they can do much quicker or more effectively than you. If you want to do it yourself, you can still get guidance from others on how to do it more effectively and efficiently. If you don’t want to pay for it, there is always Youtube.
Integrate the Art of Slowing Down into Your Life
You’ve decided what is important for you to focus on and where you are going to delegate. Now, give your full attention, to the extent possible, to what you’re currently doing. When you can, silence your phone and resist the urge to check for messages. On a regular schedule and also throughout the day where needed, rest and relax. A few minutes of meditation, mindful movement, or repeating affirmations can help you pace yourself. Learn to be comfortable with taking a break. Practices such as mindful eating or mindful movement such as qigong, yoga, or walking meditation can help you cultivate the art of slowing down.
Slow down and get more done. When you’re feeling under pressure, change your strategy. Instead of doubling down, take a few deep breaths and walk away for a reasonable period of time. Then return to your task.
Check out my upcoming classes to help you slow down, increase your focus, and gain a sense of equilibrium.