Does it ever feel like your life is a movie stuck on fast-forward? Like no matter how hard you try, there are never enough hours in the day, or no matter what you do, there’s always more to be done? Does it feel like you always need to move faster, think harder and work smarter to get ‘there’?
It’s alarming that for so many of us, our lives are like one massive ‘To Do’ list. We clock up kids play dates, coffee dates and after work drinks like there’s no tomorrow; push for bigger, better, picture-perfect homes; strive to always stay on top of social media, the local gossip, the latest news; and cultivate hip and healthy homemade meals even when we walk in the door late – not because takeaway is bad for us but so that we can prove to ourselves and the world that we ‘have it all’. Work life – tick, family life – tick, social life – tick, sleep – wait, what’s that? At the end of any given day, we pile into bed, bodies aching and minds racing to power up for more of the same tomorrow – all the while wishing that we had just a few more hours in the day.
This is living?
Why is it that it’s obvious to us that it’s better to choose quality over quantity where material things are concerned, yet we throw away our time as though it counts for nothing? How can we learn to see each moment as valuable and precious and treat it accordingly? Because it’s the little things – it’s in the moments – that we truly experience life, and make memories to cherish.
Well, savouring the moment and creating clarity in your life not as difficult as you might think!
The simple solution? Slow the $@#% down!!
- Prioritize: Understand What’s Urgent and Important
One the greatest mistakes you can make is to label everything you’re doing as something that ‘has’ to be done, and done fully. If you are thinking this way, then you are, in effect, labeling everything as urgent and important – potentially wasting time and energy on things that don’t necessarily require your full attention. The end result? You’re left rushing around trying to make time for the things that actually are important. Something is only urgent if your survival depends on it. If your bill is overdue and your electricity is about to be cut off? Well yes, then paying that bill is pretty urgent. Getting a report in before deadline? Yes, that’s important too (you don’t want to lose your job). But responding to an associates every inbox or text message with a hundred word paragraph (because you have to spell everything out for them)? Not urgent, and potentially not even that important. Keep your responses to a minimum and schedule in a phone call for the queries that do require a full or urgent response. It’s actually faster to talk than text, and you won’t be wasting time going back and forth with a dozen messages that most likely will keep interrupting your work flow. You can slow your life down significantly by making a list of all the things you normally do in a day, and weeding out or cutting down on the ones that aren’t urgent or important. Re-prioritise these, delegate them to someone else, or even take them off that ‘to do’ list altogether.
- Ask Yourself Is It Important – To Me?
After you’ve sorted out what’s truly urgent and important, it’s time to evaluate what’s important to you. Family, friends, hobbies – what makes you happy? What re-energises you and inspires you? Put aside time for these things, and give yourself permission to indulge in whatever it is that makes your life worth living. Embrace the things that are important to you and say no to the others. Cut out anything that doesn’t add significant value to your life. For example, all those extra curricular activities that you’re doing, not because you particularly want to, but because you think you should be doing them (for whatever reason). Same goes for all the extra curricular activities your kids are doing. Ask them what they want to do. Let them do just one or two after school activities that they really enjoy rather than dragging them to three or four (or five or six) because that’s what you’ve let yourself believe that kids ‘should’ be doing at their age. Choose quality over quantity! Cut ruthlessly and make an effort to thoroughly enjoy the things you’ve chosen.
- Make Private Time A Priority
Now that you’ve narrowed down what’s urgent and important, and identified the people and things/activities that you have decided are most important to you, it’s time to take a look at putting aside some time for yourself. Yes, really! Just as sleep is essential for our bodies to rest so that we can get up again each morning and make the most of the day ahead, it’s also important for us to rest and relax our minds so that we can think with ease and clarity. Slow your life down by taking some time out for you. We need time alone to reflect and appreciate, to restore and centre our minds away from the rush and clutter of daily life. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day – go for a walk, read a book, or just sit in a garden somewhere with sunshine overhead and the breeze brushing against your face. ‘Me time’ is absolutely vital to our well being.
- Live In The Moment
Very young children live in a timeless world. They aren’t focussed on yesterday or tomorrow, they live fully in the here and now, embracing everything in front of and around them. You can slow your life down significantly by taking every opportunity to you can to look at life through the eyes of a child. Give 100% to whatever task you have at hand, regardless of what it is. Appreciate the positives in every situation, and make a determined effort to embrace them.
When we are anxious and stressed, we breathe in short, shallow breaths and this doesn’t properly sustain us. While there may still be air going in and out of our lungs, we are out of whack. It’s not an enjoyable experience. In order to calm your body and mind so you can function at an optimum, you need to take the time to breathe slowly. Then and only then does everything else come into focus – allowing you to look around and smile. Re-prioritising and re-delegating tasks, understanding what’s important to you as a person, allowing yourself private time, and making an effort to live in the moment are all strategies which will help you truly breathe – and live at a pace that allows your life to truly come into focus.
Clarity of mind and quality of time cannot be rushed. Slow it down – and your life will thank you.
© 2017 Linda Memphis